In a sudden twist of political fate, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced that she may leave the Senate and run for governor in her state.
This news came at a critical time in the American political landscape, as Collins, one of the Senate's least conservative Republicans, has consistently voted "no" against attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
When asked why she wanted to pursue the Maine governorship at such a tense chapter in the Senate, Collins responded, "I’m from the northern part of the state, which needs a lot of help… two-thirds of the state is losing population and opportunity. I have some ideas for economic development that only a governor can pursue."
Her potential gubernatorial run would be met with opposition from Maine's incumbent governor, Republican Paul LePage, who has openly expressed disdain for Collins' voting record on the ACA, calling both her and fellow Maine colleague, Independent Sen. Angus King, "downright dangerous."
To make matters even more tense, if Collins leaves the U.S. Senate, Republicans fear that her seat will be filled by a Democrat in the 2020 elections, as her more moderate approach to lawmaking appeals strongly to Maine voters. The upheaval comes as the Republican Party fights to retain control of the Senate in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections.
To add salt to Collins' wounds of uncertainty, her potential challenger, Gov. LePage stated:
I will say this right away. I do firmly believe deep down in my heart that Susan Collins, in order to become the governor of the state of Maine, will have to run as an independent, and she's highly unlikely to win a Republican primary
With the eyes of the American political world watching her every move, Collins is set to make a decision to run or stay in her Senate seat by mid-October.