Paul LePage Threatens to “Deck” Dem Staffer, Failing Again to Rebrand Himself After Long Record of Violent Outbursts
Despite Paul LePage’s desperate attempts to rebrand himself, LePage threatened to “deck” a Democratic staffer at a campaign event last weekend according to the Daily Beast — proving he’s never changed.
“Six feet away, or I’m going to deck you,” LePage said. “If you come into my space, you’re going down.”
This is just the latest failure in LePage’s attempt to rebrand himself in his run for governor after gaining notoriety for his aggressive outbursts, including threatening to blow up the Portland Press Herald office and challenging a Democratic lawmaker to a duel.
“For the man once dubbed ‘America’s craziest governor,’” the Daily Beast reported, “old habits die hard.”
Read key excerpts from the article below.
As he seeks a third term as Maine governor, Paul LePage had reportedly left behind the days when he earned national headlines by threatening to blow up a newspaper office, challenging a Democrat to a duel, and telling the NAACP to “kiss my butt.”
But it turns out that, for the man once dubbed “America’s craziest governor,” old habits die hard.
At a Sunday campaign stop, LePage threatened to “deck” a Maine Democratic Party staffer who was filming him, according to video obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast.
“Six feet away, or I’m going to deck you,” said LePage, pointing at the staffer, his other hand clutching a donut from Tim Horton’s. “If you come into my space, you’re going down.”
In response to the video, Drew Gattine, the chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, said that LePage “was, is, and always will be a bully.”
Gattine has his own history with LePage: In 2016, LePage, then governor, left a expletive-filled voicemail message for Gattine, then a state legislator, calling him a “socialist cocksucker,” among other things.
When the voicemail became public, LePage told the Portland Press-Herald that he wished he could challenge Gattine to a duel and shoot him in the head, “because he is a snot-nosed little runt.” (Previously, LePage had threatened to blow up the offices of the Press-Herald.)
“When he was governor, he often threatened people with violence and with the power of his office—I saw it firsthand,” Gattine said in his statement to The Daily Beast. “This latest threatening outburst just goes to show that he’s the same as he’s always been. Maine people deserve better than Paul LePage and his hatred and division.”
Publicly, LePage has said he was Donald Trump before Trump himself was. Over two loud and controversial terms as governor of Maine, he became nationally known not just for his archconservative positions but his flamboyantly politically incorrect opinions.
In 2016, LePage famously warned that drug dealers with names like “D-Money” and “Shifty” were coming to Maine from other states to sell heroin. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave,” LePage said, drawing widespread condemnation.
According to NBC News, LePage has reportedly “mellowed out” and has branded himself privately as “LePage 2.0.” In early interviews for his 2022 bid, he sounded more like a concerned centrist than the bomb-thrower he was known to be, telling a Maine interviewer that the country needs to “find a path to have civil discourse.”
LePage’s threatening of the Democratic Party staffer—at a campaign stop in the northern Maine town of Madawaska on Sunday—is far more in line with the behavior of LePage 1.0.