Susan Collins’s nay vote on the skinny repeal of Obamacare is an early sign that she’s running for Maine governor in 2018. Current governor Paul LePage supported this claim in comments made to Maine press yesterday:
Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he believes that Maine’s senior senator, Republican Susan Collins, has her eye on the Blaine House [the Maine governor’s mansion].
“I think she knows what she’s doing. She’s planning to run for governor,” LePage told Portland radio station WGAN.
Collins, who’s been in the Senate for two decades and ranks 15th in seniority, has said she plans to decide by fall whether she wants to jump into the race to succeed LePage, whose term ends in 2018. He can’t run again because of term limits.
And ever since she withdrew her support for the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill, she has been something of a celebrity in Maine:
The crowd had come to hear legendary crooner Rod Stewart and 1980s pop icon Cyndi Lauper sing their hits — but at a concert Friday in Bangor, Maine, Lauper paused between songs to summon a special guest to the stage: Sen. Susan Collins.
“Come out!” the pink-haired singer urged Collins, who hovered in the wings at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. Lauper grasped the senator’s hands as the smiling lawmaker was greeted by cheers and whistles.
“Now this woman, this woman is a hero. And she’s my hero,” Lauper said. She paused. “And she’s a Republican!” (A notable detail, as Lauper has been outspoken about her progressive politics and performed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.)
She even landed in a tweet from Lauper:
— Cyndi Lauper (@cyndilauper) July 15, 2017
And, today, she became the only Republican senator among 44 Democrats and Bernie Sanders to sign a letter requesting Defense Secretary James Mattis and President Trump reconsider the policy to remove transgender servicepeople from the U.S. military.
These positions are preparing her for a tough battle in a consistently blue state, where election reform will make the 2018 election challenging for a Republican. LePage, one of the most controversial U.S. governors, won reelection in 2014 almost entirely based on two left-wing candidates splitting the Democratic vote. Collins placed third against two strong Democratic candidates when she ran in 1994, so she’s locking in support early with left-wing positions. Get ready for an announcement in the fall.