AUGUSTA, Maine — For months politicians on both sides of the aisle have speculated that Republican Senator Susan Collins may have eyes on the Blaine House three years from now, when Gov. Paul LePage's second term comes to an end.
Collins says she's not sure where the rumor got started...but isn't ruling anything out.
It's one of the great American pastimes; speculating on who will run for which public office and when. For months Senator Susan Collins says she has had people come up to her in the grocery store and ask if she will run for Governor in 2018. Some urging she run, some urging her to stay in the Senate.
“I don’t know where this rumor started but I can tell you that it did not start with me, it did not come from me I am not the source of it," Collins says. "I am not ruling anything in or out."
Collins says she is happy to represent Maine in the United States Senate and points to her service on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Health Labor and Pensions committee, the Senate Intelligence committee and her chairmanship of the Senate Aging Committee as signs of her success. She says her seniority on those committees has been of help to her constituents back home and that she's not thinking about an election that's more than three years away.
"I have had a lot of people urge me to run for governor but I am really just focused on my job in the Senate at this point," she says. "I think it is far too early to be focusing on the next election."
University of Maine Political science professor Mark Brewer says Collins could have the nomination is if she wanted it, citing her very high popularity rating in the polls. He says her answer to the speculation about running for Governor strikes the right balance.
"I think that's, in many ways, the perfect response to that type of question," Brewer says. "She makes it clear that she knows these rumors are out there, she is not sure where they are coming from. They are not coming from her but as any good politician she doesn’t completely shut the door on any possibility."
Brewer says those republicans hoping that Collins will run in 2018 have something to cling to, while her Senate colleagues can feel assured that she remains focused on her duties in Washington. Any definitive indications of a Blaine House run, would likely not emerge for another two years.