Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is urging voters to oppose a ballot initiative to build a casino in York County, using his weekly radio address to launch his most extensive critique of Question 1 yet.
Earlier this year, LePage said the initiative was all about greed. But the governor’s address released Tuesday went further, taking direct aim at what he described as Yes on 1’s deceptive ad campaign.
The ads have come under fire for highlighting outcomes that are not guaranteed in the initiative — a resortlike facility and a flood of revenue for education and veterans programs. Meanwhile, the ads make little or no mention that Question 1 will produce a casino that can only be licensed by the person bankrolling the referendum — controversial gambling developer Shawn Scott.
“They want to put a third casino in Maine, but only one person will be able to apply for the gaming license,” LePage said. “It’s a stacked deck. Once again, Maine’s referendum process has been hijacked by big money, out-of-state interests hoping to pull the wool over your eyes.”
LePage also highlighted how the campaign spent over $4 million just to get on the ballot. And, he said, the proposal is unlikely to bring new revenue to Maine, but cannibalize Maine’s existing casinos in Oxford and Bangor.
It’s unclear how the governor’s opposition will affect the outcome of Question 1. LePage opposed all five ballot initiatives last year. Four passed.
His opposition to Question 1 could be a factor this year, though. That’s because he’s also opposing Question 2, which would expand Medicaid to more low-income Mainers — a proposal that is expected to turn out progressive and conservative activists in an off-election year.
And that could be problematic for supporters of Question 1.
This report appears as part of a media partnership with Maine Public.