AP NEWS

Susan Rice says she won’t challenge GOP Sen. Collins in 2020

April 11, 2019
FILE - In this July 7, 2016 file photo, National Security Adviser Susan Rice follows President Barack Obama across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, to board Marine One. Former national security adviser Rice says she's not going to challenge Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in 2020, she said at the Women in the World Summit on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser under President Barack Obama, won’t be challenging Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in 2020.

Rice told former Obama administration official Alyssa Mastromonaco at the 10th annual Women in the World Summit on Thursday in New York that she loves Maine and that her family has deep roots in the state. But she said she decided with her family “that the timing really isn’t right for us.”

Rice tantalized Democrats in October when she expressed interest in Collins’ seat during the contentious confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She said Collins supporting Kavanaugh “felt like betrayal.”

Rice said during the event on Thursday that her daughter is going into her junior year of high school and moving to Maine to run a campaign isn’t the best move for her family. Rice and her family currently reside in Washington D.C.

“I really believe that the state of Maine deserves the best possible leadership in the Senate,” she said. “In the course of weighing it all, I’ve decided that with my family that the timing really isn’t right for us.”

However, Rice did not rule out a run in the future “in Maine or beyond,” she added.

Her announcement could free other Democrats to enter the race.

So far, no high-profile Democrat has announced a challenge to Collins next year. But the race is still early, and Collins herself hasn’t formally announced she’ll seek re-election.

Collins’ office had no immediate comment Thursday.

Collins is a self-described centrist in an era of increasingly polarized politics. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she’s now the last Republican member of Congress from New England.

Rice’s maternal grandparents emigrated from Jamaica to Maine in the 1910s. Her grandfather, David Augustus Dickson, worked as a shipper, porter and janitor. Rice’s grandmother, Mary Dickson, a maid and seamstress, was named Maine State Mother of the Year in 1950.