OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Paul LePage and his wife, Ann, stepped into the restaurant to loud applause from about 150 supporters.
A group of children, holding up campaign signs, greeted him first.

“Hi there guys!” LePage said, bending to hug them.

The excitement was palpable on election eve as LePage made the rounds.

“We’ve been praying for you!” exclaimed Priscille Langellier as she hugged LePage.

“I can’t wait until tomorrow!” several supporters told him.

LePage met with supporters Monday night for an end-of-campaign rally at the Taste of Thai Orchard Restaurant on Old Orchard Street. The raucous crowd included families, business owners, and current and former legislators.

LePage, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, addressed supporters at 7:30 p.m. and noted that the polls would be closing in about 24 hours.

“We just can’t slow down until 8 o’clock tomorrow night,” he said, asking those assembled to give “110 percent” in getting people – “friends, relatives, children, grandchildren, neighbors, neighbors’ grandchildren, anyone who’s moving or walking” – and direct them to the polls.
“If they’re voting for me, the election’s tomorrow. If they’re voting for my opponents, it’s Wednesday,” LePage joked.

After she shook hands with LePage, Jackie Keovilay, owner of the restaurant, said that she was a LePage supporter, and that a campaign staffer had suggested her restaurant for Monday’s rally.

LePage said he also chose the location because “we’ve been up north and now we’re down south, and we have great support down here.”

LePage, the mayor of Waterville, said he plans to cast his vote in Waterville shortly after the polls open at 8 a.m. today. He invited supporters to his election night gathering at the Champions Fitness Club in Waterville.

LePage said he expected to sleep a couple of hours Monday night.

Some supporters asked him how he thought he would do.

“I won’t feel confident until I read the returns,” LePage told one. “We feel good from an energy standpoint.”

About 4 p.m. Monday, LePage stopped at the Androscoggin County GOP headquarters on Lisbon Street in Lewiston to talk to more than 100 supporters and volunteers.

As LePage made the rounds shaking hands, children played with red, white and blue balloons and people gathered to get pictures taken with him.

He made his way to the front of the room, standing behind a table with local Republican candidates for office.

LePage said it’s important to elect enough “like-minded” Republicans so they can win control of the state House and Senate and “get work done,” because Maine is “in a precarious state.”

The crowd then began chanting LePage’s campaign slogan: “If it is to be, it’s up to us!”

“Go Paul!” several people yelled from the crowd.

LePage thanked the volunteers for their work as he mingled and shook hands, then made his way to a back room where eight volunteers were busy on phones, calling registered voters to remind them to get to the polls.

Patrick Lee, the headquarters’ victory director, said about 15 people had been working the phones for most of the day and would continue until 8:30 or so at night.

LePage implored everyone to keep pushing hard and said it’s important not only to win, but by a large margin.

“We’re very hopeful that we’re going to prevail significantly, so there’s no doubt,” LePage said.

“Let’s win big!”