A carefree but relatively subdued crowd filled the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday evening to party with Gov. Paul LePage, who only hours earlier was officially sworn in for his second four-year term.

More than 2,700 tickets were issued for the inaugural ball, although the number of those who attended was not known.

People started arriving before 6 and by 8 p.m. the ballroom was filled with people mingling around tables adorned with red, white and blue balloons.

The guests sipped drinks from a cash bar and nibbled cheese, crackers and veggies.

The event was more upbeat than LePage’s first inaugural party in 2011, according to those who attended both, but Wednesday’s event wasn’t lavish by any means.

Many of the guests were invited by LePage’s re-election campaign.


Robert and Janice West of Pownal were supporters of the governor and donated to his campaign. They said they have never attended an inaugural before and thought it would be fun.

“I like him,” Robert West said. “He’s not the smoothest talker, but he gets things done.”

Not everyone, however, was a Le- Page supporter.

State Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, a Brunswick Democrat, was among those attending. He thinks it’s important for the two parties to be able to connect on a personal level because it will make collaboration easier when the next legislature begins.

“Staying home would be sort of a hollow gesture,” he said.

Other high-profile Democrats also made appearances, including House Speaker Mark Eves and majority leader Jeff McCabe.


John Martin, who was elected to a 24th term in the Legislature in November, was spotted as well.

Of course, scores of Republican lawmakers attended too, including Senate President Mike Thibodeau and assistant majority leader Andre Cushing, as well as Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, rumored to be a potential candidate for governor in 2018.

Stavros Mendros, a former lawmaker from Lewiston and a LePage supporter, attended with his 8-year-old daughter, Tia. Mendros said it was a happy occasion for the governor, who was re-elected in November with 48 percent of the vote and “deserved a party.”

State Sen. Peter Edgecomb, a Republican from Caribou, said he talked to the governor earlier in the day after his inauguration speech and said LePage appeared excited.

Media members were allowed inside the civic center, but were not given access to the ballroom floor.

LePage’s re-election campaign had said the party would be casual and it mostly was.


The attire ranged from long dresses and suits to one young man who wore a T-shirt with a picture of him and LePage screen-printed on the front.

The party’s entertainment – a Lewiston-based oldies band called the Moon Dawgs – took the stage at about 7:30 p.m., opening their set with the Drifters’ classic, “Under the Boardwalk.”

The governor and first lady, Ann LePage, arrived about 8 p.m. and were introduced to applause. They took the dance floor to a rendition of “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” by Johnny Rivers.

After that, the band upped the tempo with the Doors’ “Light My Fire,” which prompted many attendees to join the LePages on the dance floor.

Administration officials said Maine taxpayers would not be responsible for any “core expenses” of the event. They said the nonprofit organization LePage Inaugural 2015 was established to raise private funds and pay for the expenses of the inauguration and party.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Keith Edwards contributed to this report.

Correction: This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 8 to clarify that Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew is rumored to be a potential candidate for governor in 2018.

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