In 1950, Maine Republican U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith made her Declaration of Conscience, in which she condemned the tactics being used by the House Un-American Activities Committee, under the leadership of Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Initially it made her unpopular, but in time it made her a legend.

In 1974, Sen. Barry Goldwater led a small group of Republican senators and congressmen to the White House to let President Richard Nixon know that he had lost so much support in his own party that he could not survive an impeachment trial.

Today it is 2015, and in Maine Republican leaders are facing the same kind of tough choice that Smith and Goldwater did in their time: to speak up and risk losing popular support, or stay silent and by their silence condone a leader who has violated Maine traditions of civility, standards of common decency and, very likely, Maine and federal law.

To his great credit, state Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, has met this test and put his integrity ahead of short-term party loyalty.

It is time now for others in the party to stop hiding behind weak excuses, face the fact that this governor is not fit to hold office, and make the short walk from the State House to the Blaine House to give him that news. The sooner they do, the better it will be for Maine and for the Republican Party.

Neil Gallagher