October 15, 2018
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Waterville will vote whether to remove mayor who tweeted ‘Eat it, Hogg’

Susan Sharon/Maine Public | BDN
Susan Sharon/Maine Public | BDN
Karen Heck, left, former mayor of Waterville, and Hilary Koch, a Waterville resident, take out forms at Waterville City Hall to begin an effort to oust Mayor Nick Isgro.

Waterville residents will soon vote on whether to remove Mayor Nick Isgro from office after he has faced backlash for tweeting “Eat it, Hogg” to a survivor of the Florida school shooting. A recall bid qualified for the ballot on Thursday.

Isgro, a Republican who flirted with a 2018 gubernatorial campaign earlier this year before declining to run, now must face a recall vote under the charter of Kennebec County’s second-largest city after winning a three-way race for a second term in November 2017.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said backers of the recall filed 887 signatures with the city — 30 more than was required to qualify for the ballot. Municipal officials must now set the date of the vote. City officials are recommending that it happen during the June 12 primary, Dubois said.

Isgro’s tweet in early April was directed at David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting that killed 17 students at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Hogg has been an active proponent of gun control, calling on advertisers to stop booking time on a Fox News show.

The recall effort is being led by former Waterville mayor Karen Heck, a Democrat who endorsed Isgro during his first run for mayor. He was cheered in Maine conservative circles in 2015 after vetoing the city budget and forcing councilors to reopen it after public pressure.

Gov. Paul LePage, a former Waterville mayor, has defended Isgro amid the controversy. Isgro has recently been an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and called a January news conference to flirt with a run to replace the term-limited governor, labeling the 2018 field as being full of “custodians of decline.”

The mayor has blamed the effort on “well-connected and wealthy political elites who have a very different agenda for our city.”

It’s the second recall headed to Waterville voters this year: City Councilor John O’Donnell, a Democrat who was recently appointed to his seat, will also face a recall vote organized by a libertarian who lost out to O’Donnell on the appointment, according to the Morning Sentinel.

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