POLITICS
05/10/2017 09:22 pm ET

Paul LePage Won't Run For Senate -- But He Could Go To Washington Anyway

There's a chance Maine's controversial Republican governor could just appoint himself to a temporary Senate seat.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), one of the nation’s most controversial and headline-grabbing politicians, announced Wednesday that he will not run for Senate in 2018.

“Governor Paul LePage has helped the State of Maine achieve the largest number of private sector jobs in history, implement the largest tax cut in state history, and implement reforms which have resulted in Maine showing a significant revenue surplus earlier this year and, while these accomplishments are great, there is more to do. Therefore, the Governor will remain focused on the job at hand and not enter the United States Senate race in 2018,” LePage’s senior political adviser, Brent Littlefield, said in a statement. 

LePage was first elected governor in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. Due to state term limits, he cannot run again in 2018. There is significant speculation that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) may try to succeed him. 

If she won, LePage would then have the opportunity to appoint someone to finish out the remaining two years of her term in the Senate, according to The Portland Press Herald. 

In other words, LePage could still head to Washington without actually running for a Senate seat. Littlefield did not immediately return a request for comment on whether LePage was considering that possibility.

LePage had floated the idea of running against Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) in 2018 for years. Just last month, he again toyed with the prospect, although he admitted he had some hesitations: He said he “wouldn’t make a very good legislator” and thought committee meetings would be “boring.”

Nationally, LePage is known for his off-color remarks. He has decried the state’s heroin epidemic by saying that men with nicknames like “D-Money” are coming from out of state to sell heroin and “impregnate” Maine’s “white girl[s].” He has also said undocumented immigrants spread diseases, has joked about shooting a newspaper cartoonist, made a crude sexual reference about a Democratic politician and suggested that women can’t be trusted with money.

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