The infamous former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is sauntering back to the stage.
LePage, who was term-limited from running for reelection in 2018, filed on Thursday to challenge incumbent Gov. Janet Mills (D) in the state’s 2022 gubernatorial election.
LePage has yet to officially announce his bid, but the Press Herald notes that a countdown on his campaign site seems to signal that he will do so on Monday.
The former governor, who swore he would move out of Maine if Mills were elected in 2018, threw a tantrum when the Democrat won her race and made good on his vow, storming down to Florida. However, he apparently decided to un-banish himself last July and is now living in Maine again.
The gleefully vulgar LePage in some ways walked so ex-President Donald Trump could run — but in other ways the governor was somehow even more bombastic.
For example, LePage left a deranged voicemail for a Democratic lawmaker calling him a “little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker,” then explicitly told the lawmaker to make the voicemail public “because I am after you.”
Then he called up the local press to tell them that he wanted a Burr-Hamilton style duel with the lawmaker where LePage swore he would point his gun “right between [the Democrat’s] eyes.”
And in addition to openly trafficking in white nationalist “great replacement” rhetoric, LePage also went on a brazenly racist rant in front of constituents about “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” who “come from Connecticut and New York” to sell heroin and “impregnate a young, white girl before they leave.”
LePage was even ahead of Trump on corrupt efforts to undermine American democracy, defiantly writing “stolen election” when the then-governor had to certify the election results for a 2018 congressional race in which a Democrat had won:
I’ve signed off on the CD2 election result as it’s no longer in federal court. Ranked Choice Voting didn’t result in a true majority as promised-simply a plurality measured differently. It didn’t keep big money out of politics & didn’t result in a more civil election #mepolitics pic.twitter.com/0fEhD1dvAb
— Paul R. LePage (@Governor_LePage) December 28, 2018
The unpopularity of LePage, who gathered less than 50% of the vote both times he was elected but had beaten the other candidates with a plurality, eventually spurred Maine voters to establish ranked-choice voting, making the state the first to do so. However, ranked-choice voting is not used in Maine’s gubernatorial elections.
Correction: An initial version of this post misstated the size of LePage’s plurality in his elections. He won with less than 50% of the vote in both elections.