U.S. Sen. Susan Collins delivered a moving speech about the sacrifice of American veterans during a May 29 Memorial Day event at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Caribou. Credit: Christopher Bouchard | Aroostook Republican

Maine Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins outlined the two factors she’s weighing before making a decision about a run for a governor during a question-and-answer session at York County Community College Friday.

Collins said her rise in seniority and influence in the U.S. Senate can benefit Mainers, but becoming governor could give her the autonomy to pursue economic development initiatives. Collins is currently ranked 15th in Senate seniority, a position that could rise after next year’s midterm election.

“On the other hand, governor is more hands-on,” she said, “and I have a lot of ideas for economic development and job creation. And it’s really a governor who can make a real difference in that area.”

So far, two Republicans, former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew and Maine House minority leader Ken Fredette, have formally entered the race, while a third, Senate majority leader Garrett Mason, postponed his announcement earlier this week.

Both Fredette and Mayhew have said they’ll stay in the race if Collins gets in, setting up the possibility of a bruising primary contest.

Fredette and Mayhew have aligned themselves with Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who has repeatedly criticized Collins for voting against a controversial health care bill and for not endorsing Republican President Donald Trump last year.

Collins says she’ll make a decision about a possible gubernatorial run by the end of the month.

This report appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.