A Maine lawmaker sent a sarcastic and insulting response to a Massachusetts woman who emailed Republican legislators urging them to take action against Gov. Paul LePage, using a common pejorative for Bay State residents and telling her that Maine didn’t need visitors like her.

LePage has come under fire for racially charged comments he made, as well as a obscenity-laced voice mail message he left for a Westbrook state representative.

Laurie Hunt, a Realtor from Wakefield, Massachusetts, who is the sister of Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, the Maine House majority leader, said she regularly visits the state, particularly to shop for back-to-school clothes for her children. But not this year, she said in an email to Republican members of the State House.

She won’t be coming back, she told the legislators, as long as they “continue to stand by and do nothing about your governor.” That didn’t sit well with Rep. Stephen J. Wood, R-Greene.

“Hi Laurie thanks for not coming to Maine,” Wood wrote to Hunt. “We have a nought (enough) mass holes here in Maine that (are) trying to tell us true maine r’s (sic) how to live our lives and what we can and can’t do. I don’t tell you how to run your state so don’t tell me how to run our state Thanks for not coming to Maine.”

REMARKS ON RACE THE FLASH POINT

McCabe shared his sister’s email – and Wood’s response – on Facebook. The response “is very damaging, and you compound that with the governor’s behavior, and it’s very troubling,” McCabe said.

Wood did not respond to a telephone message or emails sent to him Tuesday.

Hunt said the reaction from Wood “was not at all what I expected,” and that her email wasn’t politically motivated.

Hunt said she’s an independent and tends to vote Republican more often than not. “My brother and I don’t see eye-to-eye on politics, but I love him anyway,” she said.

Hunt said it was LePage’s focus on race in his contention that “90-plus percent” of drug dealers in Maine are black or Hispanic that upset her the most.

“It was his racist remarks more than anything and his overall inappropriateness,” she said. “It’s just terrible behavior, but it was his racist remarks that really pretty much took me over the edge.”

Hunt said that out of the 34 legislators she emailed, two other Republican lawmakers, Rep. Kevin J. Battle of South Portland and Rep. Heather W. Sirocki of Scarborough, also responded. Battle, she said, suggested that Hunt and any like-minded friends write to LePage directly and call on him to resign. A handwritten note would work best, Hunt said Battle told her.

“I thought that was nice,” she said.

Sirocki sent a longer reply and included a picture of the chamber of the Maine House, under renovation, to explain that a special session of the Legislature to address the governor’s comments wouldn’t work because it would cost $50,000 a day and it would be difficult to find a replacement venue for lawmakers.

There’s no procedure for censuring a Maine governor, Sirocki told Hunt, and LePage’s behavior, while “offensive,” doesn’t rise to the level of criminal behavior that would warrant impeachment.

The Legislature can decide to issue a joint resolution condemning LePage’s comments, Sirocki said, and she expects “people will be racing” to introduce one when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

Hunt believes a decision to do nothing about the governor will harm the state’s $5.6 billion tourism industry. She said she spent about $800 in Massachusetts on clothing for her children, and decided on a Bay State “staycation” with trips to Salem and Gloucester, where Hunt said she probably spent another $300 on attractions and meals.

When she comes to Maine, Hunt said, she usually stays in a hotel overnight, and her typical pre-school-year visit usually boosts the Maine economy by at least $1,000.

“I can’t imagine there aren’t at least 50 like me who didn’t go to Maine and spend money this (past) weekend” because of LePage’s comments, she said, and that’s enough to cover the estimated cost of a one-day special session of the Legislature.

OTHER WOULD-BE TOURISTS STAYING AWAY

Chris Fogg, chief executive officer of the Maine Tourism Association, wanted to steer clear of a political tempest, but said Wood’s response isn’t necessarily one he would recommend for those who want to encourage tourism in the state.

“We do obviously welcome people here and we want people to feel Maine is a place where they want to vacation,” he said.

Fogg said he received fewer than 10 emails last week from people who said they had changed their minds about coming to Maine because they were upset with LePage’s comments, and no such emails since then. Tourism-related businesses have told him the Labor Day weekend was busy and the Maine Turnpike was as crowded as one would expect on the unofficial last weekend of summer.

Fogg hopes any political fallout won’t extend into the next month or so, since the leaf-peeping season is an important extension of the tourist season in the state.

But Hunt said her boycott of the state will continue until some action is taken against LePage. She said she decided not to reply to the three lawmakers who responded to her over the weekend, especially not Wood.

“I couldn’t think of anything nice to say. And engaging with someone that angry and that sarcastic, nothing good would come from it,” she said, adding that she jokingly asked a friend from Maine whether Wood was related to LePage.

As for the Masshole comment, Hunt said she’s aware it’s a common pejorative aimed at people from her state.

“We joke about being Massholes all the time, but in that reference, it was quite an insult,” she said.

Then when she learned that Wood was a Maine Guide, and therefore partially dependent on tourists for his income, she said, “It absolutely blew me away.”