Liberal Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced on Friday that she will not run for governor of Maine, ending months of speculation about whether she will stay in the Senate.
A number of Senate Democrats begged Sen. Collins to not run for governor of Maine, which would rid the Senate of one of its most liberal Republicans.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) called on her to stay in the Senate. McCaskill claimed, “She’s so important to the country here. We don’t have enough folks like her.”
Sen. Collins faces an uphill battle if she runs for governor of Maine. A survey indicated that she has become increasingly unpopular among Maine Republican primary voters.
Sixty-two percent of Maine citizens disapproved of her job performance, and 62 percent of those polled also said they would rather vote for someone else in the Republican primary for governor.
Forty-four percent of Maine Republicans polled suggested they would rather support Mary Mayhew, the former Health and Human Services commissioner for Maine. Sixty-one percent of Maine Republican primary voters suggested that Sen. Collins’ voting against Obamacare repeal made them less likely to vote for her for governor.
Sen. Collins is up for re-election in 2020, whereas her run for Maine governor would have meant that she could have left her post in the Senate in 2018.
Given that Collins voted against Obamacare repeal in 2015, voted against the “skinny” repeal in July, and opposed the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill this fall, some conservatives have questioned whether she represents Maine in the Senate as a Republican in name only.
Sen. Collins’ opposition to Obamacare repeal in the Senate has earned her disdain from fellow lawmakers and conservatives. Jason Pye, the vice president of FreedomWorks, questioned whether she actually represents Maine as a Republican. Pye asked, “Is Susan Collins actually a Republican? She conferences with the Republicans, there’s an R next to her name, but a question mark is more appropriate.”
Collins revealed her decision to not run for Maine governor at a local Chamber of Commerce event, where she touted her influence in the Senate and her “persistent advocacy for Maine in Congress.
Collins’ opposition to Obamacare repeal drew the ire of Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who endorsed the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal legislation. During the Graham-Cassidy debate, Gov. LePage called on Collins to “start paying attention to Maine people.”