Westbrook, MAINE – In case you missed it, all five of Maine’s Republican gubernatorial candidates participated in a debate last night during which they made one thing abundantly clear: they’ll be Paul LePage’s third term. 

Candidates Mary Mayhew, Shawn Moody, Ken Fredette, Mike Thibodeau, and Garrett Mason spent much of the debate praising Governor LePage, pledging to continue his failed policies, and occasionally attacking one another.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement last night following the conclusion of the debate:

“Maine’s next governor will face many challenges, including growing an economy that has stagnated under Paul LePage and confronting an opioid crisis that has grown deadlier under Paul LePage. But rather than offer a bold new vision to address problems like these, the Republican candidates tonight only pledged to be more like Paul LePage.

“In fact, what we saw tonight is a fractured field of candidates who are more intent on feuding with one another to prove their conservative credentials than they are on delivering the type of change that we desperately need to make Augusta work again for Maine people.

“After years of slow economic growth, petty politics in Augusta, and mounting problems across the state, the last thing Maine people need and want is more of the same – and that’s why Democrats stand ready to deliver a bold, positive agenda focused on growing the economy by empowering hardworking middle-class Mainers."

From the Morning Sentinel:

“When asked how they viewed themselves when compared to incumbent Gov. Paul LePage, the candidates largely praised LePage’s track record in officeMoody said LePage ‘worked tirelessly to get our fiscal house in order,’ praising LePage for bringing a different attitude to Augusta. Like Moody in this election, LePage frequently cited his business experience when he first ran for office. Moody said he would carry on LePage’s tradition.

Mason called LePage the ‘right man for the right time for our state,’saying Maine was on the ‘precipice of disaster’ before LePage took over. Mason said his voting record was very similar to LePage’s, and said it was time to ‘press the gas pedal’ and make sure tax cuts are benefiting Mainers.

Mayhew said she was proud of the work she and LePage did for helping the elderly and disabled, and said she intends to make sure those priorities remained firmly in place. […]” 

From the Bangor Daily News:

“Many of the questions involved the economy and jobs. In general, the candidates provided standard responses aimed to win favor from primary voters likely to be more conservative than the general electorate. All repeated variations on LePage’s core themes since 2010…