AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s political adviser announced Wednesday that the governor will not challenge independent U.S. Sen. Angus King in the 2018 election.

Brent Littlefield said in a written statement to reporters that LePage has accomplished improvements in the economy and the state’s fiscal status but that “there is more to do.”

“Therefore the governor will remain focused on the job at hand and not enter the United States Senate race in 2018,” reads the statement.

LePage has mentioned that he might oppose King’s re-election bid on numerous occasions. Earlier in his tenure, LePage also said he could be interested in running for the U.S. House of Representatives, but neither has materialized.

Second-term Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn has declared his candidacy in the race with the Federal Election Commission, as has King.

In a written statement, Brakey’s campaign called LePage “a tremendous leader for conservative principles and the limited role of government.”

“As he contemplates and decides his next move after his term ends, we look forward to having his support as we work side by side to end the reign of Angus King and restore liberty for the little guy not just in Maine, but down in Washington, D.C.,” reads Brakey’s initial statement.

The second-term state senator from Auburn later updated his statement to say that “LePage is a tremendous leader for conservative principles, limiting the role of government” and that Brakey looks forward to working with LePage this year and next.

Brakey told the Bangor Daily News that LePage notified him Wednesday of his decision.

King could not immediately be reached for comment.

BDN political writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.

Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.