Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro survived a recall attempt Tuesday night after tweeting “Eat it, Hogg” in April to a Florida school shooting survivor who has become an outspoken proponent of gun control.
Isgro, a conservative Republican who flirted with a gubernatorial run earlier this year, may be emboldened by the response from voters in Kennebec County’s second-largest city, which came just seven months after he was re-elected for the first time in a three-way race.
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It set off a nasty battle that Isgro won Tuesday. The recall effort was fronted by former mayor Karen Heck, a Democrat who boosted Isgro with her endorsement during his first mayoral run in 2014. Pro-Isgro forces also attempted to recall City Councilor John O’Donnell, a Democrat recently appointed to his seat. O’Donnell won his recall race Tuesday.
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The mayor treated the referendum in a conspiratorial fashion, blaming it on “well-connected and wealthy political elites who have a very different agenda for our city.” He later claimed that the City Council wanted him gone because it was working on a budget to hike taxes by a higher amount that the budget that it eventually endorsed, according to the Morning Sentinel.
Isgro has been an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, and he was defended by Gov. Paul LePage — a former Waterville mayor — after Isgro resigned from his job as controller of Skowhegan Savings Bank during the controversy over the tweet, which came after Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg implored companies to pull advertising from a Fox News show.
Isgro ruled out a 2018 gubernatorial run after a January news conference where he blasted gubernatorial candidates in both parties as “custodians of decline.”
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