Paul LePage, the combative Republican governor of Maine, cast shade on the rumored gubernatorial aspirations of the state’s centrist Republican Senator Susan Collins.
In remarks given in an interview with Maine’s WGAN, the controversial firebrand had this to say about one of his possible successors:
I will say this right away. I do firmly believe deep down in my heart that Susan Collins, in order to become the governor of the state of Maine, will have to run as an independent, and she’s highly unlikely to win a Republican primary.
LePage suggested instead that she should perhaps run as an independent, and said she would likely win in that scenario.
LePage’s comments laid bare the rift between the more Trump-inclined base of the Republican party, versus the moderate middle-of-the-road sensibility needed to be competitive in a blue-leaning state like Maine.
LePage himself was only elected with small pluralities, both times with a left-leaning independent candidates splitting the Democratic vote. The state’s other Senator, Angus King, was elected as both governor and senator as an independent, though he caucuses with the Democrats.