AUGUSTA, Maine — In a statement released via Twitter, former Republican President George H.W. Bush, and his wife, Barbara Bush, endorsed incumbent GOP Gov. Paul LePage for re-election.
Bush retired to Texas after leaving the White House, but his family has long maintained a mansion — dubbed “The Bush Compound” — in Kennebunkport, where the former president is known to spend much of his summers.
He and the former first lady mentioned their affinity for Maine in their statement.
“We love Maine and care deeply about our family and friends and the hard-working people who live there,” they said in the statement. “We are writing you today because Gov. Paul LePage is our kind of get-it-done leader, who we firmly believe is committed to solving the toughest problems facing Mainers.”
The Bushes cited LePage’s “tenacity” in implementing a plan to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars of debt owed to its hospitals, including the Dorothy Walker Pavilion at Southern Maine Medical Center and the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.
“Paul LePage has done so much for Maine in just four short years, but he’s not finished,” the couple said in the statement. “That is why we strongly support his bid for four more well-deserved years, and we ask you to join us in supporting ‘our’ governor, Paul LePage, for re-election as well.”
Bush becomes the highest elected official to have endorsed LePage this cycle. LePage has also benefited from the support of Gov. Chris Christie, R-New Jersey, who heads the Republican Governors Association.
“It is a true honor to receive an endorsement from the president and Mrs. Bush for my re-election,” said LePage in a written statement. “Their lifetime of dedication to our nation and to the people of Maine is truly exemplary. I am humbled to receive their support in this critical election for the future of our state.”
His Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, also has been endorsed by a former president — Bush’s successor, Democrat Bill Clinton — who stumped for Michaud in Portland last month. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join Michaud on Oct. 24 in Scarborough.
On Oct. 30 — five days before the election — President Barack Obama also will appear in Portland in an attempt to give Michaud a final bump as Mainers prepare to head for the polls. First lady Michelle Obama held a rally with Michaud in Orono earlier this month.
The independent gubernatorial candidate, Eliot Cutler, has been endorsed by Maine’s junior U.S. senator, Angus King, a fellow independent.