First Lady Ann LePage speaks at Gov. LePage’s second inaugural in Augusta in 2015. (Troy R. Bennett | BDN)
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine first lady Ann LePage told a conservative radio host on Friday that Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon called her once to lobby her to run against U.S. Sen. Angus King in 2018 and asked her to “pray about it.”
It was the first time the wife of Gov. Paul LePage has talked about being wooed by Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Donald Trump who is recruiting a slate of Senate challengers with hopes of unseating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
Ann LePage is answering questions about her political future for the first time after her name was linked to Bannon in The New York Times earlier this month. A Republican source told the Bangor Daily News afterward that she was considering it.
She was mostly coy in a Friday interview with Massachusetts radio host Howie Carr, but she confirmed that Bannon called her nearly two weeks ago and that she was “dumbfounded.”
“He told me to talk to the governor, he told me that he wanted me to meet some people and he told me to go home and pray about it,” she said.
Ann LePage said she “didn’t take it very serious” and that others have since been calling her about potentially challenging King. However, she said that she hasn’t been able to talk to the governor about the opportunity because of his recent trips to Iceland and Washington, D.C.
Spokespeople for Bannon haven’t responded to requests for comment from the Bangor Daily News and it’s still unclear whether Ann LePage wants to run.
She said Bannon’s only call to her came “two weeks ago Sunday,” which was after her name showed up in The New York Times. In Maine, she’s best known for taking a waitressing job in Boothbay Harbor last year and advocating for military families. Otherwise, she has stayed out of the political fray since the governor’s 2010 election.
In May, Paul LePage ruled out his own run against King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. But he has since cracked the door open to running if Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn — the only Republican running against Maine’s junior senator so far — doesn’t gain traction. Ann LePage said Friday that she doesn’t know if her husband wants to run or not.