- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2017

Maine’s Treasurer Terry Hayes filed her official papers to be an independent candidate in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Ms. Hayes has a bipartisan background, having been a Democratic state representative as well as winning two terms at state treasurer with Republican backing.

She will undoubtedly face steep competition in the race for the open seat since current Republican Gov. Paul LePage is term limited. Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is reportedly mulling over a possible run, but Maine has a strong independent streak and hasn’t elected governors from the same party consecutively since 1958.

Back in 2010, independent candidate Eliot Cutler narrowly lost to then-Mayor Paul LePage by less than 10,000 votes. Four years later, however, Mr. Cutler lost to the incumbent governor by a wide margin.

Another factor that could play into this race is the recently passed ballot initiative that changed the state’s voting to a ranked-choice method, which is currently being argued in the state’s Supreme Court on the grounds of constitutionality.

In 2016, Maine made history by splitting its electoral votes for the first time ever, showing voters can be swayed. President Trump won the state’s rural 2nd Congressional District, earning one electoral vote, and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the more populated, coastal 1st Congressional District, as well as the state overall.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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