A Democratic state lawmaker in Maine urged his colleagues on Monday to support a proposal that would strip the governor of his power to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate. If one of the U.S. senators representing Maine — Republican Susan Collins and Independent Angus King — were to step down this month, Republican Gov. Paul LePage could appoint a replacement until voters choose a new senator in November 2016. But Democratic Rep. Matt Moonen wants to require that a special primary election is held no later than 100 days after a vacancy occurs, followed by a special general election.
The proposal has raised questions about whether Democrats are concerned about the possibility of Collins leaving her six-year term early to run for governor in 2018. But Moonen told lawmakers on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee that his decision to introduce the bill had nothing to do with the senator’s potential political prospects.
A Collins spokeswoman said in an email that the senator is focused on issues before Congress and is “not even thinking about 2018 or any future election cycles.”