Republican Senator Susan Collins has signaled that she is considering running for governor to replace Gov. Paul LePage when his term ends in 2018. 

“The question for me is where can I do the most good for the people of Maine,” said Collins in a statement Tuesday.  “In the Senate, I am ranked 15th in seniority and am positioned very well on key Senate Committees to help our state.  As Governor, if elected, I would be able to work directly on issues that are important to Maine, including  jobs, economic development, and education. The frenetic pace and turbulent political environment in Washington have prevented me from spending any significant time thinking through the pros and the cons. I don’t expect that I will be making a decision until this fall.  Regardless of what I decide, it continues to be an honor to represent Maine in the United States Senate.”

Earlier that day, Collins told WGAN?radio hosts Matt Gagnon and Ken Altshuler that as governor she “would try to heal the state and bring people back together,” which could be a reference to the polarizing impact Gov. Paul Le-Page has had on the state. Collins ran for governor in 1994, but lost to independent Angus King. The two politicians now serve together in the Senate. 

If elected, Collins would be required to give up her Senate seat, leaving LePage to appoint a replacement to finish out her term. LePage himself is considering a run for US?Senate against Angus King, which could further complicate matters. A recent Morning Consult survey found that Collins is now the sixth most popular senator right behind Sen. Angus King. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is still the most popular senator with a 75-percent approval rating, while Collins has dropped from a high of 78-percent approval in 2015, when she was the second most popular senator, to a current approval rating of 67 percent, according to the survey. 

Meanwhile LePage has improved his standing from a 39-percent approval rating in 2016 to 48-percent in the most recent Morning Consult survey. According to the poll, the governor has climbed from the fifth most unpopular governor in 2016 to the ninth most unpopular governor today.