Maine Senator Susan Collins had contemplated a run for governor, which would vacate her Senate seat, but she has chose to remain a thorn in the side of pro-life advocates in Congress.
The announcement was met by a standing ovation from the audience of 230, almost double the previously most attended Chamber breakfast.
She's been a consistent thorn in the side of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as her willingness to go her own way has left him short of votes on key bills, most prominently his efforts to repeal the 2010 health law.
"I will say that I am very concerned about the president's executive order that was issued yesterday and his decision to do away with an important subsidy that helps very low income people", she said.
Collins put an end to months of speculation when she made her announcement at the Samoset Resort in Rockport Friday morning.
She says her seniority in the senate weighed heavily on her decision, the Senator now ranked 15th among 100 Senators. She chairs the Senate Select Committee on Aging and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and also serves on the Intelligence Committee as well as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, according to her office's web site. If she were to win, the governor at the time that she resigns her Senate seat would have the authority to appoint a successor to serve until next regular general election - November 2019.
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 ME by remaining in the U.S. Senate. "She holds a critical position in the U.S. Senate right now, and her colleagues don't want her to leave because she's seen as a voice of reason".
Collins, 64, is one of just five women now serving among Senate Republicans, while the Democrats have 16 women serving.
Maine Democratic Party Chair Phil Bartlett said Republican gubernatorial candidates represent the party's fringe who support four more years of GOP Gov. Paul LePage.
LePage is an ally of President Donald Trump, whom Collins has publicly criticized in the past. "And I have concluded that the best way that I can contribute to these priorities is to remain a member of the United States Senate", Collins said.