PORTLAND — A builders’ trade association has endorsed Republican Paul LePage for Maine governor.

Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine today announced its support for LePage at a news conference in Portland, saying the Waterville mayor is the candidate best prepared to get Maine’s economy back on track and help business owners create great jobs statewide.

The builders’ group’s chairman, Doug Newman, called LePage “a like-minded ally” who encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach to construction. Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine represents 175 construction-related companies.

LePage, who favors smaller government and fewer restrictions for business, faces Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell and independents Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott in the Nov. 2 election.