Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau announced Tuesday that he's running for governor. Thibodeau announced his candidacy in a video ad highlighting his family business.
Thibodeau says the experience has helped him understand what is needed for Maine to have a robust economy.
"Not only that, but I understand how to get things done at the State House," he said. "I know how to work with people and have accomplishments to show for it."
Thibodeau is recognized as a staunch conservative, but one who has taken a pragmatic approach in the Legislature, where power has been split between the House and Senate.
He has worked with leadership in the Democratic-controlled House to reach bipartisan budget deals. Those efforts have brought praise from Republicans, independents and even Democrats, but also criticism from hardliners like Republican Gov. Paul LePage.
"Somebody said to me the other day, 'Mike you've been the conservative voice of reason.' I'll accept that title," he said. "You know, I want to find a way to get things done. You have to do that in business, you have to find solutions to the challenges."
Thibodeau is the fourth Republican to enter the race. He's also the first Republican to jump into the race following the announcement by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins last week that she's staying out of the contest. Collins's decision is expected to trigger more interest among GOP hopefuls.
Thibodeau, a Winterport native, served two terms in the House and is now in his fourth term in the Senate, where he's been elected Senate President twice. Former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, House minority leader Ken Fredette and Senate majority leader Garrett Mason have already entered the race.
Shawn Moody, who ran as an independent in 2010, said last week that he's strongly considering a run as a Republican.
This story was originally published Oct. 17, 2017 at 11:38 a.m. ET.