One Key Obamacare Repeal Holdout May Be Angling For A Governorship

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Sen. Susan Collins is currently trying to decide if she will run to become the next governor of Maine, but her newfound influence from the Republican push to repeal Obamacare has her seriously considering her options.

“Given the contentious environment in Washington right now, my voice and vote matter a great deal,” Collins told reporters. “On the other hand, if I were fortunate enough to be elected governor, I could work more directly on job creation.”

“That’s why it’s such a difficult decision to make. And I’m trying to figure out where I matter most,” she added.

Collins, along with Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has been able to leverage her position in the Senate to effectively become the gatekeepers of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda. The group of three senators have thus far managed to ax the GOP’s eight-month long push to reform the American health care system.

Collins gave a thumbs down to Republicans repeal bill in July and to the party’s most recent bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, in September.

“This is simply not the way that we should be approaching an important and complex issue that must be handled thoughtfully and fairly for all Americans,” Collins said of Graham-Cassidy before it was pulled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

A Collins exit would leave Republicans with at least 2 seats up for grabs in the 2018 election cycle, after Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee announced last week that he will not run for reelection at the end of his second term in the Senate.

The Maine senator has some ideas for how to retool her state that she believes can only get accomplished as governor.

“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,” Collins told reporters. “I have some ideas for economic development that only a governor can pursue.”

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