AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Paul LePage, a tea party-backed candidate who's promised to trim state government and make it more business-friendly, has been elected governor of Maine.
The Waterville mayor defeated independent Eliot Cutler and three other candidates to become the first Republican to be elected governor since John McKernan won his second term in 1990.
The race was so close that LePage had to wait until late Wednesday morning to learn he'd won. Cutler called to congratulate him.
The 62-year-old LePage surprised political observers and even himself with a decisive win in a seven-way primary in June. The victory in his first statewide campaign marks another step in a rags-to-riches story for LePage, who was homeless at age 11 but went on to finish college and have a successful career in business.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Only the losing Democrat is sure of the outcome in Maine's three-way race for governor.
Republican Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler sent supporters home early Wednesday while their race remained too close to call.
The tea party-backed LePage had 38 percent of the vote to Cutler's 37 shortly before counting stopped for the night. Democrat and state Senate President Libby Mitchell had 19 percent and conceded.
LePage would become the first popularly elected Franco-American governor of Maine and said he was confident he would win.
Cutler said it was far too early to claim victory or defeat, adding that he expected a close race for weeks.