U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she hasn’t made any decision about joining the Trump ticket as a candidate for vice president if she were asked, but “I am not waiting by my phone.”

Collins was responding to a mention of her in a New York Times story Sunday about possible running mates for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Maine’s senior senator reiterated her comment to the Times in an email Sunday afternoon to the Portland Press Herald. Asked whether she would say yes if Trump asked her to be his running mate, she wrote: “We can cross that bridge should we come to it, but I am not waiting by my phone.”

Collins was asked to comment on the front-page story about the dearth of Republican politicians eager to run on a ticket with the New York businessman should he win the nomination.

Collins said she has not endorsed any of the current contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

“I was an early supporter of Jeb Bush and continue to believe that he would be the best choice for president. Since he dropped out of the race, I have not endorsed another candidate,” she wrote in the email.


Collins’ name was mentioned near the end of the Times story, which said she “almost giggled” when asked if she would consider being Trump’s running mate.

The Times reported Sunday that a range of leading Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, have been “emphatic publicly or with their advisers and allies that they do not want to be considered as Mr. Trump’s running mate.”

Other Republicans mentioned in the article who said they would consider an invitation to be vice president under Trump include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and former presidential candidate Ben Carson.

According to the Times, Trump wouldn’t go into detail about potential candidates, but praised three governors as possibilities: John Kasich of Ohio, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Scott of Florida.

A spokeswoman for the Donald J. Trump for President campaign declined to comment late Sunday afternoon on the New York Times story or the possibility of Collins running on the same ticket as Trump.

“Eventually, we will be selecting a running mate, but it is a bit early to be talking about that now,” said the spokeswoman, Hope Hicks. “Mr. Trump is focused on winning the party nomination.”


Hicks said Trump has given no indication as to when he might choose a running mate.

His chief rival, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, announced last week that his running mate, if he’s nominated, would be a woman – former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

Two political analysts in Maine said Collins would make a very desirable vice presidential pick for Trump, but whether that would be a good career move for Collins is doubtful.

Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine in Orono, said that if he were Trump drawing up a short list, Collins would be very high, if not at the top of the list.

“She checks off a lot of the boxes that would be useful for Trump,” Brewer said.

He said Trump needs a female running mate to respond to his poor ratings among women voters. Collins’ experience in foreign policy is a plus, and she is viewed as someone who doesn’t always toe the party line, which is in keeping with Trump’s outsider status, Brewer said.


He said her only weakness is that she comes from a small state and from the Northeast, while Trump might get a bigger boost from a running mate from a more populous Midwestern state.

“Collins has been mentioned as running mate fodder for the last few cycles. She is well-respected, well-accomplished with an impeccable pubic service record,” Brewer said.

However, he said, Collins’ career might suffer if she were ever to join the Trump ticket.

“Any politician would have to consider it – a heartbeat away from the presidency is no small matter. But that being said, in this instance, with Donald Trump being the person making the ask, for Susan Collins it would not be a good career move,” Brewer said.

Brian Duff, a political scientist at the University of New England in Biddeford, said it would be a bad career move if Collins did become Trump’s running mate.

“I cannot imagine she would say yes even if he asked her, unless she harbors a secret desire for national notoriety that we had not noticed until now. It would hurt her reputation in Maine, nationally and among her colleagues,” he said.


Duff said that while it’s true that both Trump and Collins differ from the typical Republican politician, they are not different in particularly similar ways. Collins might be sympathetic to a few of Trump’s deviations from the party line, such as preserving Social Security and supporting women’s health care spending, Duff said. But she is likely very unsympathetic to much of what he has had to say on other topics, such as immigration, torture, foreign policy and women in general, Duff said.

“For Trump, it would be a coup to get such a famously reasonable moderate on the ticket with him,” he said. “Collins is not particularly charismatic, but Trump has charisma for two.”

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.


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