LEWISTON — Republican Gov. Paul LePage has entered Maine’s political history books — and this time it’s for a statistic that many of his opponents never saw coming.

LePage was re-elected Tuesday with 48.4 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler.

LePage also won more total votes than any candidate for governor in more than 30 years.

He got 291,937 votes Tuesday. Only Democrat Joseph Brennan came close in 1982 with 281,066 votes in his re-election bid.

Maine, with about 59 percent of its registered voters turning out Tuesday, was one of only 12 states that saw better voter participation than during the congressional midterm election in 2010.

When it comes to percentage of victory, LePage is only the third most popular governor going back to Brennan who received 61 percent of the vote in 1982, followed by independent Angus King with 59 percent in 1998.

Maine’s last Republican governor, John McKernan, won his second term with 47 percent of the vote in 1990, while the state’s last Democratic governor, John Baldacci, won his second term with 38 percent of the vote.

While several national news organizations labeled LePage one of the “most endangered governors” in the nation, Tuesday’s vote easily refuted that.

Brent Littlefield, a top political consultant for LePage and his campaign, said Thursday that he was never in doubt of the governor’s strong support in Maine.

“I’ve been saying for four years we have no ceiling,” Littlefield said.

He has been quick to note that Maine voters in the past 50 years have not rejected an incumbent governor seeking re-election.

An analysis of campaign spending for the three candidates in this year’s gubernatorial race by the Bangor Daily News  on Thursday showed LePage spent about half as much per vote as his closest rival, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.

Based on the totals spent by LePage’s campaign and political action committees that were supporting him, LePage’s votes cost about $20.12 each. Michaud’s per-vote cost was calculated at $38.27, while Cutler spent the most per vote at $51.96.

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Bangor Daily News staff writer Darren Fishell contributed to this report.


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