The Latest: McConnell praises Collins for staying in Senate

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2017, file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks at a news conference at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Collins said she will decide during the Columbus Day recess whether to stay in the U.S. Senate or again run for governor in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

ROCKPORT, Maine — The Latest on Susan Collins' decision on whether to run for governor (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is praising Maine Sen. Susan Collins' decision to stay in the U.S. Senate.

McConnell and Collins are Republicans who have fallen on different sides of recent debates about the government's involvement in health care. She has been a consistent thorn in McConnell's side as her willingness to go her own way has left him short of votes on key bills, most prominently his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

But Friday, McConnell says Collins' decision to pass on a gubernatorial run is a good one. He says Collins "brings conviction, smarts and leadership to every issue."

The 64-year-old Collins announced earlier Friday that she wouldn't be running for governor because she believes she can do more for Maine by remaining in the U.S. Senate.

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10:55 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Angus King says Susan Collins is putting the people of Maine first by deciding to remain in the U.S. Senate rather than run for governor.

King is a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Collins is a Republican. King said Friday that Collins has been "a champion for the state of Maine for more than two decades."

King says Collins' decision reflects the senator's work ethic, dedication to serving Maine people and "infinite energy."

The 64-year-old Collins announced earlier Friday that she would be staying out of the governor's race because she believes she can do more for Maine by remaining in the U.S. Senate. She is among a handful of GOP centrists.

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9:10 a.m.

The chairman of the Maine Democratic Party says Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins' decision to stay in the Senate reflects the fact that her party's gubernatorial candidates represent "the fringe of the party."

Democratic Chairman Phil Bartlett said Friday that it "doesn't say much for the Maine Republican Party" that Collins would rather stay in D.C. than contend for governor. He characterizes the current crop of Republican gubernatorial candidates as "a field of far-right politicians" pushing "extreme policies."

Republican gubernatorial candidates include former Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, Maine House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason and businessman Shawn Moody.

Collins announced Friday that she was staying in Senate because she wants to help hardworking families and improve the health care system.

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8:20 a.m.

Republican Susan Collins says she's staying out of the governor's race because she believes she can do more good for Maine by staying in the U.S. Senate.

The 64-year-old Collins has been weighing for months whether she'd make a bigger impact in the Senate or by launching a bid to become the first woman to serve as Maine's governor.

Collins is one of a handful of GOP centrists and decided she's needed in Washington.

Her decision Friday will likely free more gubernatorial candidates who have been waiting on the sidelines to enter the race.

Two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage cannot run again because of term limits.

Like President Donald Trump, LePage has been a polarizing leader. Collins said previously that she'd like to heal the state and "bring people back together."

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12:10 a.m.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins is set to announce whether she will stay in the U.S. Senate or run for governor of her home state of Maine.

The 64-year-old Collins plans to announce her decision on Friday at an event in Rockport.

The moderate Republican was first elected in 1996 and has played a pivotal role in the Senate in recent debates about health care policy.

She would join a crowded field in the race for governor to replace two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who cannot run again because of term limits. The election to replace him is in 2018.

LePage is an ally of President Donald Trump, whom Collins has publicly criticized in the past.

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