PORTLAND (AP) – U.S. Sen. John McCain’s presidential exploratory committee announced Monday that U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have been named to serve as co-chairs for McCain’s presidential exploratory committee in Maine.

State Rep. Josh Tardy of Newport, the House Republican leader, will serve as vice chairman of the committee.

Snowe in a statement said McCain, considered one of the front-runners for the 2008 Republican nomination, has a proven track record to address the nation’s challenges.

Collins said McCain’s experience on both domestic and foreign policy issues is “unparalleled.”

“I can think of no better person to lead our nation than John McCain,” Collins said.

AP-ES-01-29-07 0940EST