Maine Republican who stood up to Trump to stay in US Senate

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Her announcement ends widespread speculation that the 20-year veteran of the Senate would return to ME and seek to finish her political career in the governor's mansion - a position denied to her in 1994 when she finished third in a five-way race.

Collins announced plans Friday that she will remain in the Senate, ending speculation that she would run for ME governor next year.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), speaking at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce's Business Breakfast in Rockport, ME, said that she will not be running for governor in 2018. 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.

There are several Republicans already in the race to replace Governor Paul LePage when his term expires, including former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, and Senator Majority Leader Garrett Mason. Her opposition has blocked two President Trump-backed bids to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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Collins, who has served for two decades in the Senate, was part of the Gang of 14 bipartisan senators that prevented the so-called nuclear option by Senate Republicans over an organized use of the filibuster by Senate Democrats.

And she's on the outs with Trump. "I have demonstrated the ability to work across the aisle to build coalitions and to listen to the concerns of the people of my state, my country and my colleagues", Collins said.

She said that she will remain in the U.S. Senate. The only political race she lost was for governor, in 1994. She was re-elected with 68.5 percent of votes in 2014, 61.3 percent in 2008 and 58.4 percent in 2002.

Collins had postponed making her decision because those close to her said she was carefully giving thought to what would be best for Mainers. State laws forbid LePage from seeking a third term.