AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree says she is strongly considering joining a crowded gubernatorial bid for governor in 2018.

Pingree has served as the Maine 1st District Representative in Congress for four terms since 2008. Pingree was the first woman from Maine's 1st district to be elected to Congress.

Pingree told NEWS CENTER Monday at a conference about farmland access that she will make a decision by the end of the year, less than a month away.

Pingree is a longtime resident of New Haven where she has been an organic farmer and small business owner.She served in Maine's State Senate for eight years starting in 1991.

The race for Maine governor is becoming a crowded field with more than nine Democrats officially declared and five Republicans, along with three Independents, two Green Party members and one Libertarian.

James Boyle, former State SenatorKen Fredette, State Minority LeaderEthan AlcornJay DresserRichard Light
Adam Cote, attorneyGarrett Mason, State Senate Majority LeaderAlan Caron, Pres, CEO of Envision MaineBetsy Marsano
Mark Dion, State SenatorMary Mayhew, former DHHS CommissionerTerry Hayes, Maine State Treasurer
Patrick Eisenhart, retired US Coast Guard Comm.Shawn Moody, businessmanJohn Jenkins, former Mayor of Lewiston
Mark Eves, former Speaker of Maine HouseMike Thibodeau, Maine Senate Pres.Karmo Sanders
Janet Mills, Maine Attorney General
Diane Russell, former State Rep.
Betsy Sweet,
J. Martin Vachon