Sen. Collins to announce this morning whether she will run for governor

U.S. Senator Susan Collins of ME, a moderate Republican who helped block her party's efforts to repeal Obamacare this year, said on Friday that she would not run for governor of her state next year, keeping her focus on Washington.

Prior to her announcement on Friday, Collins, 64, seemed genuinely conflicted about a gubernatorial bid.

Collins grew up in Caribou, in far northern Maine.

Senator Susan Collins has ended months of speculation.She will not run for governor of Maine.

She said that she will remain in the U.S. Senate. Her final decision, she said, came down to "my sense of where I can do the most for the people of Maine and for the nation". Collins, first elected in 1996, is now serving her fourth term in the Senate. Such a move would also send shock waves through the Senate, jeopardizing the GOP's chances of holding her seat after her term ends in 2020 and marking another defection from the senate Republican conference amid the populist uprising fueled by President Donald Trump and his allies.

Three Republican candidates are now in the race.

She would have joined a crowded field in the race for governor to replace two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who can not run again because of term limits, and her decision will likely free more gubernatorial candidates who have been waiting on the sidelines to enter the race. The only political race she lost was for governor, in 1994. But Maine constitutional law expert Marshall Tinkle said she wouldn't have to resign to run and could pick her successor after being sworn in.

LePage has repeatedly bashed Collins, declaring almost a year ago that "she's done in the Republican party" because she refused to support Trump last year.

Running for governor would have been a risk and it was treated with Collins-esque care. "I have demonstrated the ability to work across the aisle to build coalitions and to listen to the concerns of the people of my state, my country and my colleagues", Collins said.