This week, Governor Janet Mills’ re-election campaign continued to fire on all cylinders, picking up an endorsement from Senator Angus King and an “A” grade from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. With less than 40 days until the election, Paul LePage’s campaign is not running quite as smoothly. Here are just a few lowlights from LePage’s trainwreck of a week:
The week began with a New York Times report showing that while governor and now, LePage benefitted from a tax break in Florida which he tried to cut for Mainers.
WMTW: Maine Democrats question Republican Paul LePage’s homestead exemption for Florida home
Bangor Daily News: His final budget proposal in 2017 contained a tax overhaul that would have melded income tax cuts and a broadening of the sales tax with limiting Maine’s homestead exemption to people over age 65.
LePage then once again came under scrutiny for his cruel opposition to providing access to the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug Naloxone both now and during his time as governor:
Bangor Daily News: After finding the deadly opioid fentanyl during a boat inspection, Maine’s maritime police agency was working in June 2018 on guidelines allowing officers to carry a life-saving overdose reversal drug…[LePage said] “it is fake security for drug addicts.”
Maine Public: LePage was roundly criticized for declaring in 2016 that Naloxone merely "extends lives" and he stood by that position Wednesday while criticizing Mills' focus on harm reduction policies. "I am hostile to it because I look at Narcan as a method of sustaining life and extending life.”
Courtney Allen, director of the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project: “[LePage] does not care whether or not my friends [are] dying on the streets, he's using them as backdrops to his press conferences so that he can get hits in the media.”
Noah Nesin, a family doctor at Penobscot Community Health Center in Bangor: “We can’t go back to the terrible biases that he manifested when he was governor. I think what he is trying to do is a red herring. He is trying to stir up the biases about this disease and I find that really troubling.”
For good measure, LePage got into some fights with Maine’s farmers and sportsmen:
Bangor Daily News: Former Gov. Paul LePage sparred with a small group of farmers at an agricultural forum on Tuesday, saying farms were not as productive as they could be and prices are too high.
David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine: “To be honest, I was shocked; I was hurt…He fired a torpedo at our ship…I can't understand why this has happened. Because it's sort of like fighting with your family members. It doesn't make a lot of sense to us, politically.”
And then he finished the week off by telling Maine’s caregivers that if he’s elected, they are on their own:
Paul LePage: “I took care of my mother and my father. I took care of my mother-in-law, my father-in-law. It’s not the government’s role, it’s the family’s role. ... It’s not a burden when you’re taking care of a loved one. At least I don’t think so. I’m not a big fan of paid family leave because it’s totally abused.”
“Between starting unnecessary fights, coming under fire for hypocrisy, doubling down on disastrous policies, and repeatedly sticking his foot in his mouth, this week was the same old LePage,” said Misha Linnehan, spokesperson for the Maine Democratic Party. “LePage is reminding Maine people about the vitriol and divisiveness that characterized his eight years in the Blaine House. We won't go down that road again.”