Three polls have been released in the last two weeks in which Maine voters were asked to express their opinion of Paul LePage and his performance as governor. Many are pointing to the most recent, a Critical Insights survey showing LePage’s approval rating at 31%, as evidence that support for the governor has quickly plummeted.
The real answer to how the public views LePage and his time in office is much more complicated.
First, let’s look at the results.
Despite a close race for the District in 2010, Democratic Representative Cynthia Dill beat former Republican Representative Louie Maietta by a more than two-to-one margin on May 10 to win the Senate District 7 special election.
With 5,056 to Maietta's 2,405, Dill won in all three towns in the district, winning by the most in Maietta's home town of South Portland.
Acting on a Freedom of Access request I filed last week, the LePage administration has now released the letter that Representative John Martin (D - Eagle Lake) sent to the governor complaining about the actions of then-DECD Commissioner Phillip Congdon during his visit to Aroostook County last month.
Here's the text of the letter:
The resignation of Phillip Congdon from his position as commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development came after Representative John Martin (D - Eagle Lake) sent a letter to the governor informing him of remarks allegedly made by Congdon while at a local event in Caribou.
Martin characterized Cogdon's comments as "out of character for a public official, racist in nature for some of them, and some were anti-Aroostook."
Two members of Governor Paul LePage’s cabinet, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Philip Congdon and DEP Commissioner Darryl Brown, resigned Wednesday after each was involved in separate controversies.
Congdon, LePage’s commissioner for the Department of Economic and Community Development, is alleged to have made a racist comment at a meeting in Aroostook County. Though the topic is being discussed in the halls of the statehouse Wednesday, full details have yet to emerge.
Portland Representative Dianne Russell is holding a rally and press conference this morning to formally announce the introduction of LD 1453, legislation to legalize and tax marijuana in Maine.
With the selection of Rep. Cynthia Dill at a Democratic caucus on Tuesday and the selection of former Rep. Louis Maietta by local Republicans the day before, the candidate field for the District 7 Senate special election to replace retiring Senator Larry Bliss seems set.
The biggest problem Governor Paul LePage faces isn’t the Legislature. His party has a majority in both Houses.
It isn’t a budget deficit, something he proved by introducing a budget that increases spending while cutting taxes, mostly on Maine’s wealthy.
The problem isn’t his Democratic opposition, unions, environmentalists or public interest groups. They’ll work to stop some of his policies, but they no longer have the muscle to set the agenda in Augusta.
Governor LePage has a new television show, airing on Time Warner Cable across the state and available online. For a governor distrustful of the media (LePage recently said that “buying a Maine daily newspaper is like paying someone to lie to you”) it’s a way to get his message out in a scripted, edited and favorable way.
State Senator Larry Bliss, a Democrat representing South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and part of Scarborough, announced Tuesday that he will be resigning his seat in order to take a job at California State University.
Bliss has served in the legislature for eleven years and was well known for his role as Senate chair of the Judiciary Committee during the last Legislature, where he oversaw hearings on LD 1020, the equal marriage bill, which saw attendance in the thousands.