June 20, 2018
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Letter from LePage helps Republican group decide to hold national convention in Portland

Christopher Cousins | BDN
Christopher Cousins | BDN
Gov. Paul LePage
By Robert Long, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Republican Liberty Caucus, a national organization with ties to the tea party and Ron Paul wing of the GOP, will hold its 2015 national conference in Portland.

The RLC’s national committee announced Tuesday evening that it had voted unanimously to hold the group’s biennial convention April 18-19, 2015, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. This year’s convention is scheduled for May 10-12 in Austin, Texas.

Four cities originally expressed interest in hosting the convention, but a letter from Maine Gov. Paul LePage helped convince the selection committee to choose Portland, the release states. The convention will draw “hundreds of Liberty Republican activists and nationally-known elected officials” to Maine’s largest city a little more than a year before the next presidential election.

“Maine’s bid for the national convention was strong,” RLC Vice Chairman Ed Lopez of Greenwich, Conn., said in a release announcing the 2015 convention choice. “I see the selection of Maine for our 2015 national convention as an anchor event: to re-frame, revitalize, and recharge the GOP in the region and nationally as we gear up for a crucial presidential election in 2016.”

Traveling in Europe, Maine Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Ken Lindell of Frankfort wrote in an email, “This convention will bring Republican liberty activists from around the country spending their money and spreading a message of peace and prosperity in our state.”

The Republican Liberty Caucus, founded nationally in 1991, describes itself as “the conscience of the Republican Party” and a grass-roots organization that “works within the party for policies which promote individual liberty and smaller government.” The Maine chapter received its charter in 2006.

The Maine chapter was one of the first groups to endorse LePage during the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010. Other Maine Republicans who’ve received its endorsement include state Sen. Doug Thomas of Ripley, former Maine Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney of Springvale, former state Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello and former state Sen. Debra Plowman.

LePage, who has formed a re-election campaign committee but not yet announced formal plans to run again in 2014, would have to win a second term to host the convention as governor in 2015.

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