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13 October 2017, 04:05 | Opal Carroll
Top RINO Susan Collins to leave the Senate?
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.
The 64-year-old Collins made the announcement Friday morning at an event in Rockport.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins is set to announce whether she will stay in the U.S. Senate or run for governor of her home state of Maine. 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.
Maine's current governor, Paul LePage, a Trump ally, would have appointed a replacement for Collins if she chose to leave the Senate. She had also said she'd like to heal the state and "bring people back together".
Collins is seen as the most middle-of-the-road Republican in the Senate, willing to buck Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) when she disagrees with them.
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As she remains in the increasingly dysfunctional Senate as the member of a party that chose a presidential nominee who knows nothing about policy and process and doesn't seem to want to learn, Collins will stand out. Her Senate term runs through 2020.
She's not afraid to buck her party.
Collins, speaking at a hotel in Rockland, Maine, prefaced her announcement with a lengthy speech about health care and lamented the effect of "hyper-partisanship" in Congress on health care ever since Democrats first passed the Affordable Care Act. She spoke of how she's proud of her time in the Senate, and how she felt as though she was able to represent ME well.
Recent, opinion polls released by partisan sources have offered conflicting evidence of how Collins would fare in a Republican primary contest.
Collins, 64, is popular in ME, having won reelection in 2014 with 68 percent of the vote. State laws forbid LePage from seeking a third term. For all his successes, though, LePage is known for his bombastic leadership style.
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