State GOP chair disheartened by call for her resignation

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State Republican Party Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas said Tuesday it is “a little disheartening” to have a Lewiston GOP House candidate call for her resignation.

During an interview with Portland radio station WLOB, she decried the decision of Republican hopeful Mike Lachance to urge her to quit over her role in recruiting former Androscoggin County GOP leader Stavros Mendros as a legislative candidate in York County.

“Instead of dealing with his candidacy and talking about his record and everything else, he’s decided that he wants to get involved in other counties’ politics,” she said.

York County Republicans recently chose Mendros, a controversial figure from Lewiston, to run against Justin Chenette, a Democratic state senator from Saco.

Kouzounas said on the radio that she helped look “high and low” for someone to challenge Chenette after the chiefs of staff for the Senate president and Senate majority leader, Rob Caverly and Shawn Roderick, asked for her assistance.

“My job is to fill all seats,” she said. “I mean, that’s what I do. My job is to help out all my candidates.”

Lachance, who is running for the 61st District seat in Lewiston, said this week that Kouzounas should quit because “furthering the political career of such characters as Mr. Mendros is not only self-destructive for the party and an insult to Mainers, but is a slap in the face to every hardworking Mainer who believes in conservatism, good government and ethics.”

Mendros compared Lachance to “a child in need of a diaper change trying to get attention.”

Kouzounas said she understands that Lachance dislikes Mendros “with a passion,” but should defer to the decision of the local GOP in Chenette’s district instead of making it sound like the Republican Party “is really bad and naughty.”

The executive director of the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, BJ McCollister, said that so far in this election cycle “we’ve seen Republicans try to rig their own elections by refusing to fix Clean Elections. We’ve seen a wave of Republicans drop out of their races for the Maine Senate. And now we are seeing the Republican Party find new ways to cheat the system.”

“Their actions make one thing clear, the Maine Republican Party is desperate,” he said.

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State Republican Party Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas (Courtesy photo)

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