LePage wants Republican presidential nominee chosen during floor fight

Posted Feb. 26, 2012, at 9:27 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 26, 2012, at 2:47 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage said he is not impressed with the field of contenders in the Republican presidential race and he would like to see the final choice decided in a floor fight at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer.

The outspoken Republican governor, who was the tea party favorite when he was elected in 2010, told Maine Today Media in Sunday’s editions that his party needs a “fresh face” to challenge President Barack Obama in the fall.

While attending the National Governors Association meeting in Washington this weekend, LePage told reporters that he was hoping for a floor fight at the party convention to choose a nominee.

“I would love to see a good old-fashioned convention and a dark horse come out and do it in the fall,” LePage said, adding that he didn’t have a particular alternative candidate in mind.

“The candidates in this primary have beat themselves up so badly it would be nice to have a fresh face that we all could say, ‘OK.’ The country deserves better than having people stand up and keep criticizing each other,” LePage said.

Following his comments to reporters, LePage’s press secretary emailed a clarification to reporters saying that the governor would support whoever wins the nomination and that the country is better off electing anyone over Obama.

His comments came as Republicans Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum compete for front-runner status with a win in Tuesday’s Michigan primary.

Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul all are vowing to battle into May or even June for the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination. It has been several decades since there was a brokered presidential nominating process.

LePage also criticized the Maine Republican Party’s handling of its nonbinding presidential caucuses, saying they were “poorly handled.”

Romney was declared the winner of the caucuses earlier this month, but the exclusion of postponed caucuses in Washington County and the need for a recount because of a variety of counting mistakes and omissions drew widespread criticism.

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