Lawmakers press for impeachment of Maine’s abrasive governor

FILE - In a Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 file photo, Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House, in Augusta, Maine. The week of Jan. 10 could bring an impeachment order calling for an investigation into Republican LePage’s alleged abuse of power. Some lawmakers insist the Legislature must take some sort of action, whether it’s censure or impeachment, to punish LePage for using his influence to pressure a charter school operator into rescinding a job offer to House Speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Long before Donald Trump laid waste to political correctness, there was Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

For five years now, the Republican has hurled crude insults, heaped abuse on the media and offended many with his brass-knuckle tactics and off-the-cuff remarks — most recently last week, when he complained that out-of-state drug dealers with names like “D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty” are getting Maine’s white girls pregnant.

On Thursday, lawmakers take up a longshot bid to impeach him, and while the chief allegation against LePage is abuse of power, not lack of civility, it is clear there is a lot of ill will toward the governor in both parties over what many regard as his bull-in-a-china-shop manner.

“It’s a matter of principle,” said Democratic state Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland. “It’s about holding the governor accountable and standing up to his behavior.”

Impeachment would be unprecedented in Maine. Then again, so is the brash governor in a state known for centrist politicians and genteel leaders like former Sens. George Mitchell, William Cohen and Olympia Snowe.

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