AUGUSTA – Paul LePage, the Republican nominee for governor, is hosting a fundraiser of a different sort Saturday.

LePage, mayor of Waterville, is selling seats on the Maine Eastern Railroad — $750 per person in the Exclusive Parlor Car or $100 per person for coach seats — on a trip he’s billing as the “LePage Express.”

Those who pay more get more time with the candidate, and lunch is included.

He’ll spend some time in the coach sections, but passengers there have to buy their own food.

The trip starts in Rockland, and he’ll give brief speeches in Wiscasset and Bath, according to his website.

LePage, along with three of the four other candidates running for governor, is financed privately, which means he has to raise money for his own campaign. He’s competing against two well-financed independent candidates who also must raise money or donate it to themselves — Eliot Cutler and Shawn Moody — and the publicly financed state Senate president, Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro.

Independent Kevin Scott also is funding his own campaign.

We’ll get full updates on how much all of them have raised after Tuesday’s midnight campaign finance reporting deadline. Those reports also will close the books on the nine candidates who ran and lost in the June primaries. 

ROCKLAND TOUR

Mitchell, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, will do a downtown business tour of Rockland on Tuesday, according to her campaign.

She’ll also attend an open house at the Ocean Energy Institute. 

SCHNEIDER BACKS CUTLER

State Sen. Elizabeth Schneider, D-Orono, is now the third sitting Democratic legislator to back independent Eliot Cutler for governor instead of Mitchell.

Unlike the other two — Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, and Rep. Leila Percy, D-Phippsburg — Schneider is running for re-election.

“My decision reflects more completely the desires of those I serve, as well as my interest in having a collaborative, fair, thoughtful, strong, candid, trustworthy, successful, honest individual to lead our state,” she said in a statement.

Cutler also recently released a list of Republicans who are supporting him, but none was a sitting state legislator. 

NEW CUTLER STAFFERS

Monica Castellanos, who most recently worked for Democrat John Richardson and has worked for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, also a Democrat, has been hired as Cutler’s deputy campaign manager for operations.

She’s responsible for coordinating day-to-day activities, and is helping with communications, campaign manager Ted O’Meara said.

Cutler also picked Matthew Stone, a volunteer organizer for Republican state Sen. Peter Mills, and Leo Trudel, a deputy field director for Democrat Patrick McGowan. 

WILL JENKINS JUMP IN?

Former Auburn Mayor John Jenkins is rumored to be considering a run for governor as an independent.

If he does, it would have to be as a write-in, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The deadline for filing signatures to get a name on the ballot has long since passed.

The secretary of state already has gotten about a dozen requests for write-in forms for various offices. The forms will be posted soon on the Web.

Jenkins has had write-in success before, at least at the local level.

In November 2007, he made Auburn history by being the first person to win a citywide election as a write-in. 

PADDLE CHALLENGE

Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, has issued a challenge to fellow lawmakers to join him Saturday for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail international paddling festivities.

Kayakers and canoeists who paddle on any part of the 740-mile trail can have their miles counted toward the goal of covering the entire distance between sunrise and 5 p.m. Miles are counted per person, not per boat, which means one boat with three people who paddle 5 miles will get credit for 15 miles.

More information is available at www.northernforestcanoetrail.org

ROLDE’S FIRST NOVEL

Neil Rolde, a former Democratic state lawmaker and historian, has published his first novel, called “O. Murray Carr.”

Tilbury House Publishers in Gardiner describes the book as a “political thriller, in a setting that most will recognize as Maine.”

Rolde, of York, has written several nonfiction books, including “Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine.”

His novel is available at www.tilburyhouse.com

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

scover@centralmaine.com 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

rmetzler@mainetoday.com