WISCASSET — It was all aboard for the LePage for Governor campaign Saturday, as the Republican candidate stumped along Maine’s midcoast on the Maine Eastern Railroad.

Waterville Mayor Paul LePage, who convincingly won his seven-man primary in early June, met crowds of 50 or more in Wiscasset, Brunswick and Bath during his one-day fundraising and campaign junket, which originated and ended in Rockland. He was joined by 1st District Republican congressional candidate Dean Scontras for most of the journey as well as local State House candidates.

LePage repeated a similar message at each stop.

“We’ve got to send all those liberal Democrats to the unemployment line,” he told the crowd in Wiscasset. “It’s time they stop digging in our pockets and we start digging in theirs.”

Crowds seemed receptive to his message of fiscal discipline, smaller government and welfare reform.

“We have to slow down this tax and spend mentality,” LePage said in Bath, before a crowd of more than 100. “The state of Maine is like the person who bought a Lexus but can’t put any gas in it. I say we go back to a Chevy and get a full tank.”

The LePage campaign organized the scenic train ride as a fundraiser, charging $100 per person or $750 per person for VIP status, including seating with the candidate in the parlor car.

Campaign staff said the train had 84 passengers, including members of the media as well as campaign helpers.

A fundraising total for the trip was not yet calculated Saturday, they said.

The events were attended by voters solidly in the LePage camp. Many cited LePage’s compelling personal story as the inspiration for their support.

LePage grew up in Lewiston as the eldest of 18 children in a family that depended on welfare. He was also homeless for a time before attending Husson College and becoming a successful businessman and politician.

“He feels different,” said Jennifer Chart of Brunswick. “There’s no crap with him. I was an unenrolled voter and I registered as a Republican to vote for him (in the primary).”

Tom Chandel of Brunswick said he’s concerned about spending deficits and the high unemployment rate.

“The Democrats are in control and it’s time to do something different,” he said after watching LePage speak at the new train station just off Maine Street in Brunswick.

Heather Brown of Bridgton said she became a LePage fan after watching him debate in the Republican primary.

“He didn’t try to make his answers sound good, he didn’t sound like a polished politician,” she said. “We need to do something differently to relieve our kids from the current situation. Our kids just don’t have the same opportunities we used to have.”

And although LePage said in an interview on the train that he wants his campaign to stick to the issues, he wasn’t shy about throwing the crowd a little red meat during the stop in Bath.

“Libby (Mitchell) had her 70th birthday a few weeks ago and I’m concerned about her,” the 61-year-old said with a chuckle. “We should send her home.”

Mitchell is LePage’s Democratic opponent for the Blaine House.

The crowd roared its approval.

 

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

rmetzler@mainetoday.com