President Trump’s re-election campaign has tapped former Republican Gov. Paul LePage to serve as its honorary chairman in Maine.

LePage campaigned with Trump, who visited Maine five times during his presidential campaign in 2016. Trump also flirted with the idea of hiring LePage for a staff position, in a Portland Press Herald interview during a campaign swing through Maine.

Former Gov. Paul LePage

LePage first backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2016 but switched allegiance to Trump just eight days before Maine’s Republican Party caucuses, which were won by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Also, in a statement issued late Thursday, Trump’s campaign said Joe Turcotte, the Republican National Committee’s director for Maine, will serve as the campaign’s state director.

LePage’s daughter Lauren LePage, now a regional lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, worked for Trump’s campaign in 2016 in Maine.

Trump made history in Maine when he became the first presidential candidate in more than 100 years to capture just one of the state’s four Electoral College votes by carrying the state’s 2nd District. The other three electoral votes went to his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State and Sen. Hillary Clinton, because Clinton won the 1st District and a majority of the statewide vote.

After Trump’s election, LePage remained a staunch supporter during his last two years in office, visiting Washington, D.C., and staying often at the Trump International Hotel there. Those hotel stays became evidence in a federal lawsuit against the president, one of multiple cases accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bars a president from using the office for financial gain by taking payments from state or foreign governments.

Maine taxpayers largely paid for the hotel visits by LePage and his staff.

In August, LePage, Shawn Moody, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor in 2018; and former 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin held a forum in Gorham to praise Trump and criticize Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat.

 


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