The political pressure on Gov. Paul LePage over his recent controversial comments and threats grew over the weekend as Democratic legislative leaders suggested that Republican leadership persuade him to resign, a Senate Republican said a censure of him by the Legislature seemed appropriate, and an online petition signed by thousands of people urged him to step down. A Democratic state legislator from Portland, meanwhile, said he will start exploring whether there is legislative support for impeachment proceedings against LePage, and a therapist and lobbyist from Hallowell is urging the public to attend a rally Tuesday in Augusta to support having the governor step aside or seek professional help. Democratic legislative leaders sent a letter Saturday evening to Republican legislative leaders asking them to condemn LePage's crude and threatening comments to and about a state representative, and urging that they get him professional help or encourage him to step down.
It was quite a week for Maine Gov. Paul LePage. The Republican governor made some ugly, racially charged comments at a public event on Wednesday, which was soon followed by a threatening, expletive-laden phone message LePage left for a state legislator.
Aug. 27, 201620:07
The Portland Press Herald reported overnight that the "pressure is building" on LePage, who's facing renewed calls for his resignation.
The Democratic leaders' letter said LePage "appears to be unfit to hold office at this time." Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D) said in a separate statement, "It's clear from the governor's threats that he is not mentally or emotionally fit to hold this office. I am calling on the governor to resign, acknowledge the real problems with his behavior and take appropriate steps to get help."
To date, no Maine Republicans have called for his ouster, but some, including State Sen. Amy Volk (R), have expressed possible support for a legislative censure. Volk added that she doesn't know whether LePage's behavior is "due to substance abuse, mental illness or just ignorance."
While developments continue to unfold in the Pine Tree State, note that we haven't heard much from some of the state's most high-profile GOP figures -- each of whom played a role in getting LePage elected in the first place. Let's not forget, for example, that the governor benefited from Sen. Susan Collins' (R) and former Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R) backing.
Indeed, during LePage's re-election bid, former First Lady Barbara Bush even starred in a television ad for him, telling Mainers, "Paul is blunt, direct, like me."
The support worked, and voters gave LePage even more support in his 2014 re-election bid than in his first election four years earlier. Given their role in this debacle, will any of these Republicans help take the lead now in calling for the governor to step down?
Postscript: LePage's spokesperson told reporters over the weekend that the governor will "likely have a news conference" on Tuesday. The purpose of the news conference has not been announced.