If it’s true that  “As Maine goes, so goes the nation,” the Harvard Political Review looks to Gov. Paul LePage for clues into how Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would govern.

It’s an easy connection to make, and one that the Republican governor has made himself: LePage endorsed Trump and ruled out vice-presidential speculation by saying he and the New York City billionaire are “too much alike.”

That’s because of obvious surface-level similarities. Both have a penchant for bitter public feuds with rivals and have been blasted for controversial remarks, whether it was LePage’s pronouncement that immigrants spread the nonexistent “ziki fly” or Trump’s claim that Mexico is sending “rapists” to the U.S. border.

But there are some pretty important differences between the two, as well. Unlike Trump, who hasn’t held office, LePage was mayor of Waterville for eight years and had at least a basic level of governing experience.

He’s also become somewhat of a rallying figure in the Maine Republican Party, bringing establishment Republicans — including George H.W. Bush — and activist-type social conservatives into the fold during his two campaigns for office.

Some tension has emerged on the centrist side of the party as LePage has fought with notable Republican figures including Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, but it’s nothing compared to Trump’s struggles to rally the party behind him.

Plus, it’s worth noting the scope of the office: If elected president, Trump will have all sorts of powers, including control of the military and the freedom to set U.S. foreign policy. LePage is a powerful figure in Maine, but there’s nothing that compares with the presidency.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.