Republican Gov. Paul LePage announced Tuesday he would seek a second term in office during a private fundraising event in Kennebunk, according to a state senator who attended.
Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, said LePage confirmed he was running during the event hosted by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Cushing said the announcement came in front of a group of about 100 people but LePage was unmistakeably clear that he would seek a second term in the Blaine House.
LePage was reticent about running last week after the Democratic majority in the state Legislature, with help from some Republican lawmakers, doled out a veto override on a state budget LePage rejected for tax increases.
"There was a group of people here committed to doing everything they can to see him re-elected," Cushing said of the private, $2,000 per person event.
Cushing said he attended the $150 per person general reception afterward where LePage made the announcement.
Members of Maine's press corps were not invited to attend the event at the waterfront Nonantum Resort in the coastal town where Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, has a seaside retreat at Walker's Point.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was a co-host of the event and former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe was listed as an event sponsor but was not present Tuesday.
Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, said it wasn't surprising LePage decided to make the announcement during a high-priced fundraiser at a private venue.
"Could LePage make it any more obvious that when it comes to being governor he doesn't care about Maine's middle class and average working people?" Grant said. "He's working for and only speaking to the ultra wealthy and big corporations."
It was unclear when LePage would make an official public announcement of his re-election campaign.