Maine governor says he may not finish term amid racism allegations
LePage phone call targeting state lawmaker was recorded
BOSTON — Combative Maine Governor Paul LePage said on Tuesday he would consider resigning as he faces a wave of criticism from both fellow Republicans and rival Democrats after leaving a lawmaker a profanity-filled voicemail last week.
LePage’s latest outburst came after a newspaper reporter told the two-term, Tea Party-backed governor that state Representative Drew Gattine had described the governor as racist for focusing on black people as bearing primary responsibility for the drug trade in the state.
“I’m looking at all options,” LePage said in a weekly interview on WVOM-FM radio when asked if he would finish his term.
“I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it, I’m not saying that I am going to finish it. What I’m going to do right now is I’m taking one step at a time. I want to meet with Mr. Gattine and then I want to meet with my team at my office and we’re going to look at what the proper steps are to move the state forward.”
In last week’s voicemail, LePage called Gattine a “little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker” and encouraged him to share the message publicly “because I am after you.”
LePage, 67, said he had lost his temper when he was told that Gattine had described his views as racist. He told reporters he would like to engage in a duel with Gattine, a remark he later described as metaphoric.
“I just want to apologize to the Maine people, to Gattine’s family and most of all to my family,” LePage said during the 15-minute interview. “And we will take action.”
LePage had scheduled a Wednesday town hall meeting in the Portland suburb of Westbrook, part of Gattine’s district, but the event was canceled on Tuesday after officials at the youth center selected to host it voted against having the event.
Some Democratic lawmakers have called for a special session of the legislature to censure LePage, who earlier this year fought off an impeachment effort. State Senate President Michael Thibodeau and other Republican legislative leaders late Tuesday convened a closed-door meeting with LePage to discuss his future.