Gov. Paul LePage’s verbal assault on Attorney General Janet Mills continued Tuesday on the heels of Mills announcing she would seek the Democratic nomination to replace LePage as Maine’s next governor.
LePage’s comments Tuesday morning during a radio interview on WVOM were nothing new but illustrated, again, how he has been loaded up against Mills for years and what the campaign against her over the next 15 months will look like.
“She is a Democrat before she’s an attorney,” said LePage, who has long complained he has no authority over the attorney general nor any role in nominating or appointing candidates for the position. Maine is unique among U.S. states because members of the Legislature vote and elect the attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state and state auditor.
“The whole way the constitutional officers are put in place in this state is outrageous,” LePage said. “The governor, who is the only elected official in the whole state, has no say in placing constitutional officers.”
Mills had long been expected to declare her gubernatorial candidacy but sent ripples through Maine’s political channels Monday with her announcement. Out of the gate, she is framing herself as a problem solver with a history of working with people from any political party. While that may be true, Mills’ long career as a prosecutor, lawmaker and attorney general has produced numerous examples of her Democratic activism.
LePage’s comments were in reference to his attempt to intervene, again, in the plight of a husky named Dakota, who he is trying to spare from being euthanized after it attacked two other dogs, killing one of them. Dakota’s case is up for a hearing Monday in Augusta District Court, and LePage wants to file an amicus brief, which means he would offer his opinions in the case but not be an official witness. LePage has asked Mills to allow him to file the brief with the help of outside counsel.
The battle between Mills and LePage, which already has been epic throughout the last several years, won’t fizzle anytime soon. Mills told the BDN on Monday that she will not give up her position as attorney general to campaign because of the influence she has to work on behalf of Maine people.
This item was originally published in Daily Brief, a free political newsletter distributed Monday through Friday by the Bangor Daily News to inform dialogue about Maine politics and government. To read more of today’s Daily Brief, click here. To have the Daily Brief delivered daily to your inbox, click here.