February 24, 2020
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GOP opposition, Constitution makes legislative action against LePage unlikely

BDN file | BDN
BDN file | BDN
Gov. Paul LePage (left) and Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, during the governor’s second inauguration in 2015.

Legislative leaders are meeting on Thursday to discuss reconvening to address Gov. Paul LePage’s latest controversy, but Republican opposition and the Maine Constitution place high hurdles ahead of the prospect of even returning to Augusta.

It’s the eighth day of fallout from the Republican governor’s remarks on black and Hispanic drug dealers and subsequent profane voicemail to Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, who criticized LePage.

The week has been dominated mostly by a daisy chain of meetings and press conferences.

On Monday, Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport met with LePageHouse Republicans caucusedand decided to oppose returning to Augusta to censure LePage on Tuesday, citing cost. On Wednesday, Gattine met with LePage, then called for his resignation and LePage said he wouldn’t resign.

Later that day, Thibodeau broke with Fredette and left the door open to censure if LePage didn’t seek professional help and that his caucus would vote on whether it wants to return within 24 hours. Jim Cyr, a Thibodeau spokesman, said that won’t happen until after today’s meeting.

To return, the Maine Constitution says a majority of all legislators in both parties must vote to come back. That means 45 Republicans need to agree. With House opposition, that’s unlikely.

Democrats are sticking behind a call for LePage’s resignation, but some are also beginning to raise the specter of impeachment — which progressives tried and failed to do in January.

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