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Maine's Susan Collins declines gov run, will remain in Senate

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Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican, announced Friday that she will not run for governor of ME and said she chooses to continue serving in the Senate. "You are such a person'". As one of the few moderates in a closely divided Senate, she is often a swing vote, and, as she demonstrated during the health care debate, she can often influence the outcome of important legislation.

Collins put an end to months of speculation when she made her announcement at the Samoset Resort in Rockport Friday morning.

Notwithstanding the fact that numerous reports indicated that there were elements of becoming Governor of ME that appealed to her, it's not entirely surprising that Collins made a decision to stay in the Senate and to seek re-election. "Ultimately I've been guided by my sense of where I can do the most good for Maine and the nation", she said.

Collins, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and is the chamber's longest-serving Republican woman, openly toyed with the possibility. She said the lack of public hearings and time to analyze ACA repeal proposals were wrong.

Collins said her mother was urging her to stay in the Senate.

Last year, Collins announced she would not vote for Donald Trump in the presidential election, and she has been critical of the president in the past. She said that older citizens in ME would have been most harmed, with health insurance premiums skyrocketing with high deductibles.

She said Congress has been hampered by partisanship. She would have been the clear front-runner in a governor's race now filled with lesser known candidates. Lisa Murkowski and John McCain - who voted against the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act over the summer. In July, Collins was caught on a hot mic voicing concerns about Trump's understanding of the budget and debt ceiling, as well as responding to a Republican congressman who challenged her to a duel over her position on health care, in part by calling him "unattractive". While Collins remains one of the most popular senators in the country, her support among a Republican party apparatus aligned with hardliners like Gov. Paul LePage appears to be on the decline. She said she's "very concerned" about the executive order President Trump signed on Thursday that will destabilize Affordable Care Act exchanges by allowing healthy people to purchase cheaper plans that are less comprehensive. King and Collins, of course, now serve together in the Senate.

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