Paul LePage isn’t only running against Gov. Mills in his bid to return to the Blaine House. He’s also running against himself.

LePage is four years removed from his two terms in office. We know who he is.

But even if you’ve forgotten how often his antics, anger and often fact-free approach to governing got in the way of helping people, this past week offered not-so-gentle reminders.

First up was the news that Maine had the nation’s largest decline in the percentage of residents without health insurance from 2019-2021, largely the result of the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program to cover more low-income residents. The state went from having the 26th lowest uninsured rate in the U.S. to the 14th lowest.

Mills expanded Medicaid, or MaineCare as it is known here, on her first day in office, following years in which LePage refused, even going as far as to ignore a statewide referendum that passed with about 60 percent of the vote.

LePage’s refusal, based on his own misconceptions, cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, a lot of which would have gone to support rural health care providers in a state that is losing them quickly. It also denied health coverage to tens of thousands of Mainers who could have used it.


It’s not the only one of LePage’s longstanding obsessions that hurt Mainers. The Bangor Daily News reported this week that as governor he refused a request by the Marine Patrol for its officers to carry the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

It’s not a surprise – LePage made his opposition to naloxone well known during his tenure, even as a record number of Mainers died from drug overdose. He did everything in his power to keep it out of people’s hands.

Mills has done the exact opposite, trying to make sure that naloxone is present whenever and wherever someone overdoses. It’s part of the reason that in Maine in 2021, 93 percent of overdoses were nonfatal, even as highly poisonous fentanyl flooded the drug market.

Police officers themselves saved 327 overdose victims using naloxone last year. Someone should ask LePage, who famously said naloxone “does not truly save lives; it merely extends them,” what would be gained by letting those victims die.

Finally, we were reminded again how LePage can turn likely allies into enemies.

Upset that the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a well-known and conservative-leaning lobbying group, was pressing him for answers on one of the group’s legislative priorities, LePage could have calmly explained his position and agreed to disagree. Instead, he withdrew his questionnaire from consideration by the group’s legislative action arm and accused both SAM and Gov. Mills of being corrupt.

It’s the same baseless accusation he carelessly threw around while in office. He said it about a popular and effective state land conservation program and about an effort to develop housing across the state for Maine seniors.

In both those cases, and others, LePage’s wrongheaded opposition kept initiatives important to the people of Maine from being put in place. His whims kept Mainers from getting the resources they had coming to them, and their communities from growing.

LePage wants people to think he’s changed. After the last week or so, it’s not hard to see why.

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