Just how similar are Donald Trump and Paul LePage?

Good morning from Portland, where I’m reeling from reading the latest take comparing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Gov. Paul LePage, this time from the Harvard Political Review.

It’s an easy connection to make, and one that the Republican governor has made himself: LePage endorsed Trump and ruled out vice-presidential speculation by saying he and the New York City billionaire are “too much alike.”

That’s because of obvious surface-level similarities. Both have a penchant for bitter public feuds with rivals and have been blasted for controversial remarks, whether it was LePage’s pronouncement that immigrants spread the nonexistent “ziki fly” or Trump’s claim that Mexico is sending “rapists” to the U.S. border.

But there are some pretty important differences between the two, as well. Unlike Trump, who hasn’t held office, LePage was mayor of Waterville for eight years and had at least a basic level of governing experience.

He’s also become somewhat of a rallying figure in the Maine Republican Party, bringing establishment Republicans — including George H.W. Bush — and activist-type social conservatives into the fold during his two campaigns for office.

Some tension has emerged on the centrist side of the party as LePage has fought with notable Republican figures including Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, but it’s nothing compared to Trump’s struggles to rally the party behind him.

Plus, it’s worth noting the scope of the office: If elected president, Trump will have all sorts of powers, including control of the military and the freedom to set U.S. foreign policy. LePage is a powerful figure in Maine, but there’s nothing that compares with the presidency.

A reminder: Your best and hottest LePage takes are here at the Daily Brief. Subscribe here if you haven’t, and here’s today’s soundtrack. (It’s gets funnier the more you watch and I’m sorry.) — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • Democratic 2nd Congressional District hopeful Emily Cain will campaign with the second-ranking party official in the House on Wednesday in Lewiston. She’ll appear at a business roundtable and factory tour with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, at Rancourt and Co. Shoecrafters in the morning. It’s an example of heavy national involvement in the race to unseat freshman U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican.
  • Speaking of that race, Maine Democrats will hold a press conference hitting Poliquin on Monday in Bangor. State Rep. Adam Goode of Bangor is among the headliners. They’ll focus on two tax claims against Poliquin, which are among the talking points in the race that we unspun for you today.
  • The Maine Department of Health and Human Services advocated against Medicaid expansion in Idaho on Thursday. Deputy Finance Commissioner Alec Porteous made the case against Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, according to The Idaho Statesman. Maine and Idaho are among the 19 states that haven’t expanded. LePage has vetoed it five times. Porteous answered questions by phone, according to DHHS spokeswoman Samantha Edwards.
  • LePage will be in Sanford on Wednesday for his next town hall meeting. It’ll be at City Hall from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Under a federal grant, the Maine State Library will digitize more than 100,000 pages of historical newspapers and post them online for free access. Any Maine newspaper printed before 1923 — and potentially up to 1962 — is eligible for the project, according to a news release. It’s part of a two-year, $275,000 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Correction: Porteous spoke by phone to lawmakers in Idaho and he didn’t travel there. The item above has been corrected.

Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • Ahmed, the Walmart attraction: Is Ahmed not the hottest cashier you’ve ever seen at Walmart,” somebody says. “If you haven’t seen him yet you must go there on some Saturday morning and check him out. Damn he’s hot.”
  • Brush up on your ans first: Looking to outsource school or business work? This person will do it “for an cheap price,” which worries me.
  • Statuesque friend wanted: A man in Hancock County wants to become “good” or “best” friends with a woman who has an oddly specific frame: “5’11’ or close to height around or about 149 pounds measurements 36D-29-42.” — Michael Shepherd
Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.