Reporting in the Maine Beacon revealed strong ties between Paul LePage and the dangerous “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that led to the deadly Capitol riot last January. The article details how LePage has welcomed support from a number of Maine’s highest profile election fraud conspiracists, including Nick Blanchard, who was present at last year’s attempted insurrection. LePage himself has pushed the Big Lie, referring to 2020 as a “stolen election” and making baseless accusations of massive voter fraud.

“By embracing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, Paul LePage is once again demonstrating that he does not care about or respect the will of the voters and will do or say anything to get his way,” said Gaetan Davis, Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party. “A third LePage term would represent a fundamental threat to Maine’s democracy as we know it.”

Paul LePage has rejected the will of Maine voters on several occasions, refusing to implement legalized marijuana, sign off on senior housing bonds, and expand Medicaid, all of which were approved by the people of Maine at the ballot box. Governor Mills has since implemented all three measures.

Maine Beacon: LePage is running on Trump’s ‘Big Lie,’ with support from Jan. 6 participants
By Nathan Bernard
January 14, 2022

Key Points:

  • Now, close Trump ally and former Maine Governor Paul LePage is leveraging local and state “Big Lie” purveyors, anti-democracy activists and lawmakers to bolster his 2022 gubernatorial campaign.

  • Maine Republican Party chair Demi Kouzounas is one such prominent LePage supporter. Days after the 2020 election, Kouzounas solicited donations from her party’s listserv writing, “We will not rest until the truth about the 2020 election is revealed and we return trust to American elections.”

  • In an April 2020 WLOB radio interview, Kouzounas referred to January 6th capitol rioters as “our people” and accused the police of murder for the death of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol Police officer after she breached a barricade to the U.S. House Speaker’s Lobby. Kouzounas further theorized the insurrection may have been a socialist plot.

  • “I’m just wondering if what they’re really looking for is chaos, so the government can grow a little bit more and take over,” said Kouzounas. “I mean, if we’re headed to socialism, isn’t that one of the ways that we – you take people’s guns away and then you allow for some chaos to occur and then you come in as a government and say we’ve got to take care of you, we’ve got to protect you, it’s our job to do it and grow the government.”

  • The day LePage filed his nomination papers, Kouzounas said she was “absolutely thrilled” and that LePage was “the only credible candidate running for the Republican nomination.” Soon after the party’s full-throated endorsement, LePage’s primary competitors dropped their bids.

  • LePage has also garnered backing from local January 6th participants. Nick Blanchard, a Waterville-based anti-democracy activist who supports LePage, called Jan. 6, 2021 “one of the best slash worst days” of his life. Since the insurrection, Blanchard, like many others who were present for the riot, has become increasingly involved in local politics.

  • Blanchard also attended LePage’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign launch in September, frequently shouting “Stop the Steal” from the crowd. Blanchard’s antics were rewarded by a photo-op with LePage after the event.

  • “Together we will Make America Great Again,” Blanchard posted on Facebook along with a picture of him embracing LePage. The post was accompanied by #WWG1WGA, a hashtag used by QAnon — a group of conspiracy theorists who believe Trump is a messianic figure ridding the world of satanic pedophiles through a series of military tribunals.  

  • Also present at LePage’s launch event was Rep. Heidi Sampson, who has advocated for a “forensic audit” of Maine’s 2020 election results. During the summer of 2021, Rep. Sampson distributed affidavits demanding that all “paper ballots, voting machines and software” be turned over to two prominent national election fraud conspiracists, Col. Phil Waldron and Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, for inspection.

  • LePage himself also has a history of perpetuating the “Big Lie.” In the days after Trump’s loss, LePage repeatedly went on local Maine radio stations to claim the election was stolen.

  • “I tell you, this is clearly a stolen election. I think 70 million [Trump voters] all recognize that too many votes were illegitimate votes. People have voted more than once,” LePage told WGAN morning host Matt Gagnon on Nov. 13, 2020. “I’m really concerned that Democrats do not want honest and fair elections. They just want to win at all costs.”

  • The next day, LePage told WGAN hosts Andy and Julie Smith, “People who’ve been dead for several years are voting,” without offering evidence.

  • LePage also fabricated voter fraud conspiracies specific to Maine, asserting Colby College in Waterville ran a “scheme” allowing out-of-state students to vote multiple times in Maine elections. LePage could not provide evidence for this either.