Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage — who plans to seek the Blaine House again in 2022 — fired up Lincoln County Republicans during a rally in Damariscotta on Saturday, Aug. 22.
Approximately 120 people attended the Lincoln County Republican Committee’s second annual Great American Picnic at the committee’s headquarters on Route 1.
LePage headlined the event and urged attendees to vote for Republicans in November, particularly President Donald Trump. He described the upcoming election as a choice between capitalism and socialism.
“I will tell you that he is a man that loves this country, he loves our military, he loves law and order,” LePage said of Trump.
At the end of the event, LePage reassured those in attendance that he intends to run for governor in 2022 and will begin campaigning next year.
“Several people have asked me if I’m going to run again. The answer to that is yes,” LePage said to cheers from the crowd.
LePage said he has had his differences with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in the past, but stressed the importance of voting for her in order to maintain control of the Senate.
“Without her, and if we lose the Senate, we have no shot, even if the president wins and we lose the Senate and the House. One, they’ll try to impeach him again. Two, we’ll get nothing done. We have got nothing done the last four years,” LePage said.
LePage then gave a strong endorsement to Dr. Jay Allen, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, in the 1st Congressional District and also spoke at the event. Allen lives in New Harbor and practices medicine in Waldoboro.
“I think Dr. Allen would do such a wonderful job and he’d be a great help to the president. And it’s going to be an uphill battle,” LePage said.
LePage said Republican strategists should go after Pingree “lock, stock, and barrel” over what he described as her support for defunding the police.
Pingree voted June 25 for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would enforce national accountability standards in an effort to end police misconduct and address racial injustice in policing.
“We need our police. We need law and order in this country. You’ve seen in the big cities what’s happening. They’re all falling apart,” LePage said in reference to protests against police brutality.
LePage also expressed support for Dale Crafts in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, saying Golden “stole” the 2018 election from former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, through ranked-choice voting.
“The proponents of ranked-choice voting proclaim that it guarantees a 50% vote. Jared Golden did not get 50% of the vote. And so they stole it,” LePage said.
Golden won the election with 50.62% of the vote after two rounds of the ranked-choice process, according to official results on the website of the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions.
“Dale Crafts is a good Christian, he’s a businessman, he’s been in the Legislature eight years. He’s just an honest, solid human being,” LePage said.
LePage then turned his attention to the importance of winning as many state legislative seats as possible, particularly in the Senate, in order to stop Gov. Janet Mills from “spending money she doesn’t have.”
LePage said he supports a strong social safety net, but believes people should at least have to look for a job before receiving government benefits.
“I believe in taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves. But I do not believe in taking care of those who won’t help themselves, those who depend on us to do it all for them,” LePage said.
Allen was next to speak, emphasizing the need for law enforcement and a strong military and decrying socialism.
“Law enforcement officers are so important to our society. A lot of them are veterans, so I have a connection with them because of that,” the former U.S. Army physician said. “But also, they are the ones protecting our rights and our freedoms. If we don’t have them watching out for us, we’re going to be in deep trouble.”
Allen praised Trump for being the first president in 40 years who has not started a new war.
“As a veteran, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that,” he said. “We are spread thin as it is. We have an obligation to those territories where we’ve gone in and destabilized things. We need to go in and make it stable again before we pull back out.”
Allen, like LePage, framed the race as a choice between capitalism on the Republican side and socialism on the Democratic side.
“The reason it doesn’t work is because socialism and communism punish productivity and reward laziness,” Allen said.
Other impassioned pleas to vote Republican followed from state Sen. Dana Dow; state Reps. Dick Bradstreet and Jeff Hanley, and House candidates Michael Lemelin, Merle Parise, Jeff Pierce, and Lowell Wallace.
Parise, of Newcastle, energetically threw his hat off his head, declaring that he was throwing his “hat into the ring” and that he is prepared for the election battle in House District 90.
State Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, has held the seat since 2012. Parise will face Lydia Crafts, D-Newcastle, in the November general election, since Devin cannot run for reelection due to term limits.
Katie Winchenbach, master of ceremonies for the event, thanked Norman Hunt at the conclusion of the speaking portion for the use of his property and parking lot.
A day that began with the national anthem ended with performances of patriotic songs like “God Bless America.”
Old and young Republican supporters stood on the side of Route 1 throughout the day waving American and Trump flags to passing cars, many of which honked.
There was a table set up for voter registration and campaign donations. A Total Victory Ice Cream truck was also on-site.