The midterms this week will herald an array of fresh faces in government offices across the United States, including a replacement for Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage, who’s retiring after two terms. In but the latest of a long line of partisan pronouncements from the controversial figure, he told reporters this week that he’d be moving out of the state following his tenure in part thanks to its high taxes — at least when compared to Florida, which is where he’s planning to go.
‘I’ll be a resident of Florida if Janet Mills wins, I can promise you that… I’ll also be in Florida if Shawn Moody wins because I am going to retire and go to Florida. I am done with politics. I have done my eight years. It’s time for somebody else.’
FiveThirtyEight, at present, gives Democrat and sitting state Attorney General Janet Mills a 19 in 20 chance of pulling off a victory over Republican Shawn Moody.
She’s one of a number of Democrats across the country expected to cruise to victory this week; others in gubernatorial races include Florida’s Andrew Gillum and Wisconsin’s Tony Evers, who’s aiming to replace Wisconsin’s controversial Governor Scott Walker. FiveThirtyEight gives Evers a 3 in 5 chance of winning.
In the meantime, LePage continues to solidify his mark as a staunch Republican ideologue.
He said that although he won’t be spending every waking moment in Florida (where he might be teaching at a university), coming back to Maine for the spring and summer from April through September, he wants to maintain his legal residency in Florida thanks to its lower taxes. Florida doesn’t have any state income tax at all, and their property taxes are lower than what LePage is set to pay in Maine.
As LePage explained it:
‘I’ll tell you very, very simply: I have a house in Florida. I will pay no income tax and the house in Florida’s property taxes are $2,000 less than we were paying in Boothbay. At my age, why wouldn’t you conserve your resources and spend it on family (rather) than spend it on taxes?’
There’s a feeling that he’s fed up with the state he’s led for eight years, a time in which he did not change the tax laws enough to make them personally likable.
He’s certainly made his mark for being frugal in the past. He’s one of a number of Republican governors across the U.S. who declined to expand Medicaid in their state despite the Affordable Care Act pressing that direction. Just this year, he asserted that he would go to jail before he let the state expand Medicaid without the funding he wanted, despite voters directly approving the program expansion.
Eventually, though, the Maine Supreme Court ordered the LePage administration to follow voters’ wishes, and he filed a plan with the federal government to expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover some 70,000 to 90,000 additional Maine residents — although he asked the feds to reject it after Republican state legislators refused to appropriate funding.
It’s a mark on his legacy — or lack thereof — among many similar issues that will be weighing on voters as the midterms draw to a close.