Shawn Moody is expected to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race as a Republican. CAPTION Maine Independent Gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody during the Bangor Debate at the Bangor High School Monday evening. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gorham businessman Shawn Moody said Tuesday that he expects to make his second run for governor in 2018 as a Republican after finishing fourth as an independent in 2010.

The 57-year-old founder of Moody’s Collision Centers — an employee-owned business he started at age 17 — said in an email that he joined the Republican Party on Tuesday and expects to formally declare his candidacy just before Thanksgiving.

Moody has long been eyeing another run for governor and has been speaking at Republican events during the past year. That’s a clear departure from his guerrilla 2010 campaign, when he entered the race the June before Election Day and finished with 5 percent of the total vote.

He ran that campaign as an outsider, often calling himself a “regular guy.” His policy ideas were often vague, but he won respect for his genial nature. Gov. Paul LePage, the Republican who beat Moody in 2010 and is now term-limited, later named him to the boards of trustees for the University of Maine system and the Maine community college system.

It’s unclear how he’ll fit into his new party. Moody was a conservative-leaning independent in 2010, saying he wouldn’t sign a same-sex marriage law unless it was sent to voters at a time when LePage was stating total opposition.

So far, former Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew of South China, Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, make up the Republican gubernatorial field. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is expected to announce whether she’ll run for governor on Friday.

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after time at the Kennebec Journal. He lives in Augusta, graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and has a master's degree from the University...