(NEWS CENTER) — Gov. Paul LePage has decided against entering the 2018 race for U.S. Senate.
According to a statement from the governor released Wednesday by a senior political advisor, LePage plans to "remain focused on the job at hand" and to not pursue the office.
"Governor Paul LePage has helped the State of Maine achieve the largest number of private sector jobs in history, implement the largest tax cut in state history, and implement reforms which have resulted in Maine showing a significant revenue surplus earlier this year," the statement reads, "and, while these accomplishments are great, there is more to do."
LePage was long rumored to have been considering a run to challenge incumbent Sen. Angus King.
In mid-April during a speech in Orono, LePage accused King of using Maine politics as a stepping stone to increasing his personal wealth through investments in wind energy. The governor later acknowledged speculation surrounding a possible run, telling MPBN he was "seriously contemplating" the race.
When asked if LePage was being considered for a spot in the Trump Administration, his advisor told NEWS CENTER, "No comment."
Two hypothetical polls from 2016 among likely voters found King more favorable in a potential 2018 matchup between the two: 63 percent to 29 percent (Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram) and 59 percent to 37 percent (Colby College-Boston Globe).
Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, who announced his campaign for U.S. Senate on April 4, released the following statement:
"Governor LePage is a tremendous leader for conservative principles, limiting the role of government to protect the liberty of the little guy," the statement reads. "As he focuses on fighting for the people of Maine as our Governor, I look forward to working with him to end the reign of Angus King and restore liberty for little guy --- not only in Maine --- but down in Washington, DC."