LePage unveils bid for third term as Maine governor
Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) launched a bid for his former office on Monday, vying for a third term as the state’s chief executive.
LePage, who served as Maine’s governor from 2011 to 2019, was blocked by term limits from running for a third consecutive term. Maine’s constitution, however, allows individuals to run for a third gubernatorial term after sitting out a term, according to The Associated Press.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills succeeded LePage. She had previously served as the state’s attorney general.
The sitting governor has reportedly begun fundraising, but has not officially announced if she will run for another term, the AP noted.
“Maine faces several challenges and we must work toward building a better future based on individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, and an economy which empowers everyone including our rural communities,” LePage said in a statement, according to the AP.
LePage said his campaign will officially begin in the fall.
His announcement comes after he told a local news outlet in February 2020 that he was exploring the possibility of running for a third term.
LePage while in office cut taxes, implemented welfare reductions, paid back millions of dollars in Medicare debt to hospitals in the state and made changes to the pension system, the AP reported.
During his eight years in office he also became known for an array of controversial and offensive statements, including calling protesters and lawmakers “idiots,” associating the IRS with the Nazi Gestapo and blaming immigrants for what he said was an increase in infectious diseases in Maine.
At one point, LePage said he was “Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular,” according to the AP.
The politician previously disputed claims that he is a racist, however, saying in October 2019 “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” He also survived a long-shot impeachment attempt for abuse of power, the AP noted.
Mills’s campaign in response to LePage’s announcement touted her accomplishments as governor and attorney general, adding that she is “just getting started.”
“She knows that growing a strong economy in every corner of Maine means investing in our greatest asset: our people. That’s why she expanded health care to more than 75,000 Maine people, made historic investments in our education system and broadband expansion, provided property tax relief, and is fighting climate change and ushering in clean energy jobs — all while leading Maine through a global pandemic with near best-in-the nation results,” the Janet Mills for Governor campaign said in a statement, according to WAGM.
“Governor Mills has delivered for Maine people time and again, and she is just getting started. As we put this pandemic behind us, she will continue her fight for all Maine people and for a welcoming, stronger, more prosperous state,” the campaign added.