The 57-year-old Gorham business owner previously ran as an independent for ME governor in 2010. Susan Collins said Friday that she won't run for governor in 2018, avoiding what may have been the fight of the moderate Republican's political life against a primary base that looks to have grown more stridently conservative.
She is one of a handful of GOP centrists and decided she's needed in the U.S. Senate.
"This decision has not been any easy one".
"I was guided by the central tenet of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm", she said.
"Let me address the elephant in the room" she said, at 8:20 a.m.", said Collins, who then said she will remain in the Senate and not run for governor, as has been discussed and speculated.
Collins' announcement was met with a standing ovation by the crowd.
There are four Republican candidates who have already registered to run for governor - Maine House Republican leader Kenneth Fredette of Newport, state Sen. Since Mr. Trump became president, she has voted less often with her party than any other Republican senator.
Collins put an end to months of speculation when she made her announcement at the Samoset Resort in Rockport Friday morning.
Had she run and won the race for governor in 2018, she would have become the first woman in ME to hold the office. Additionally, Collins would have control of the state bureaucracy, potentially using it and the bully pulpit of the governor's office to advance a policy agenda to work on initiatives that could improve Maine's economic outlook.
Three Republican candidates are now in the race.
Collins ranks 15th in Senate seniority and is the most senior Republican woman.
And many Mainers have strong opinions about what Collins should do.
LePage has repeatedly bashed Collins, declaring almost a year ago that "she's done in the Republican party" because she refused to support Trump last year. She introduced a bill to let transgender people serve in the military and opposed efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.