Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Gorham businessman to seek Republican nomination for governor

Gorham businessman to seek Republican nomination for governor Sen. Susan Collins won't run for governor, will remain in US Senate
Howard Terry | 14 October, 2017, 00:52

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she will decide this week if she's running.

Collins' announcement was met with a standing ovation.

"As a strong supporter of Susan Collins, if I had to pick which job she would do, I couldn't", said Lance Dutson, a Republican political operative in Maine who worked on Collins' 2014 campaign. Garrett Paul Mason of Lisbon Falls, former Maine Department of Human Services Director Mary Mayhew of South China, and Deril Stubenrod of Clinton.

But a gubernatorial bid by Collins would also have been risky - the biggest threat coming from within her own party.

Urgent action is needed to stabilize the insurance markets, including creating high-risk pools, she said.

But the Senate health care working group that began work on Obamacare repeal legislation in May didn't include a single woman - many of whom opposed aspects of the effort.

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-person race. 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.

On Friday, Collins said that "getting health care reform right requires starting it right, with a commitment to public hearings, open negotiations, thoughtful and fact-based discussion, and a willingness to find common ground". 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".

In any case, the Collins vs LePage factional divide will continue play out in the GOP primary for governor, as a lot more Republicans jump in, including some center-right figures. She also slammed her GOP colleagues for drafting bills to repeal and replace the ACA behind closed doors over the summer.

Each repeal proposal would have harmed ME residents and hospitals.

"I really just thought I could do most good for Maine and the nation in the Senate", she said. As she toldPolitico earlier this month, she likes that power.

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. Prior to her announcement, she said she wanted to "heal ME", a comment read by some as a swipe at LePage's polarizing style.

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