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Pingree says she won’t run for governor in 2018

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree speaks in Portland, Dec. 7, 2015.

AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree announced Tuesday she won’t run for governor in 2018, saying she’ll run for re-election in Maine’s 1st District and leave in place an uncertain and crowded Democratic primary to replace Gov. Paul LePage.

Pingree, 62, of North Haven, who is serving her fifth term in Maine’s southern congressional district, said in a Facebook video Tuesday that there is “so much more work to be done” in Congress, citing the “crazy” administration of President Donald Trump, a Republican.

The congresswoman’s staff has acknowledged since September that she has been considering a bid in the gubernatorial race. Earlier this month, Pingree told the Bangor Daily News she was being lobbied to run and would make a decision by January.

Pingree will be heavily favored to win re-election next year in the Democratic-heavy 1st District. She won her first term in 2008 with 55 percent of votes and has had higher shares in each election since.

Brunswick counselor Mark Holbrook, Pingree’s 2016 opponent, has declared to run again for the seat. Her campaign account had nearly $592,000 in it to his $10,400 by September’s end.

Pingree could have upended the 12-person Democratic gubernatorial primary, which arguably is led by Attorney General Janet Mills of Farmington, former House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick and Sanford attorney and Army veteran Adam Cote.

But state Sen. Mark Dion of Portland and former state Sen. James Boyle of Gorham also are running, and former state Rep. Diane Russell of Portland and Hallowell lobbyist Betsy Sweet have significant progressive followings.

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