Snowe throws support to LePage, sends recorded message of endorsement

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LEWISTON — You may soon be getting a phone call from former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of Maine’s most popular Republican politicians.

Snowe’s message? She wants you to join her in supporting the re-election of Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

“To continue economic growth in Maine, I am supporting Paul LePage,” Snowe said in the prerecorded message. “Under Paul LePage, the economy is turning around. Over 22,000 new private-sector jobs have been created and wages are up since Gov. LePage took office.”

Snowe’s endorsement of LePage came six days before Election Day and at a time when the race between LePage, Democratic challenger Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler was going through a series of other shake-ups.

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On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Angus King flipped his support from Cutler to Michaud and Thursday, President Barack Obama was in Maine to tout Michaud and pump the state’s Democratic voting base.

Also Wednesday, Cutler, who has been trailing LePage and Michaud in public polling for months, told his supporters he wouldn’t drop out of the race but they were free to vote their conscience and for another candidate, if they believed he could not win Tuesday, Nov. 4.

A spokesman for LePage’s campaign, Alex Willette, said news of Snowe’s open and verbal support was welcomed and important to LePage.

Snowe and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, have hosted private fundraising events for LePage but the automated call that will go to voters across the state is Snowe’s first public support of LePage.

Peter Snowe, a former Maine politician and the late first husband of Olympia Snowe, is said to have helped LePage when he was young.

“Sen. Snowe’s support means so much to the governor, especially coming from a true independent leader both here in Maine and across the nation,” Willette said.

Snowe, who retired from the U.S. Senate in 2012, citing Congressional gridlock, and with hopes she could do more to change the federal government from outside of it, served 18 years in the Senate after serving in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1995.

In her message she not only speaks of LePage’s success with growing jobs in Maine but also his efforts to combat domestic violence and to support the state’s military members and veterans. 

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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