Last week, I discussed in some detail Maine voters’ history of re-electing top-level political figures, a trend that has applied for many decades to senators, members of Congress and governors.

When defeat does happen, it most often occurs at the end of an official’s first term, when voters can actually remember that the post wasn’t held by its current occupant in perpetuity.

Which is why the case of Sen. Angus King is intriguing.

King’s term as an independent governor wasn’t particularly outstanding — the Democrats who ran things back then weren’t always willing to accept his priorities when they differed, as they occasionally did, from their own.

But it also met the typical voter’s minimum requirements for the job, and King had no trouble moving on to the Senate, again as an independent, once Olympia Snowe’s retirement (see “guaranteed to win re-election as long as she wanted the job,” above) produced an open seat.

And that brings us again to Gov. Paul LePage, and the coincidence that the Republican’s second term expires along with King’s first one.

Speculations that the governor would run against King in 2018 are met with a number of objections, one being that current polls show the senator with substantially higher ratings than LePage, and another that King is Mr. Smooth on the hustings, while LePage is, well, not.

But so what? Recall that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is as rough as a buzzsaw, and it hasn’t kept him from driving many more polished candidates from the race.

Where polls are concerned, they showed his prospective opponent well in the lead all along — until suddenly she wasn’t. One poll this week had Donald Trump actually ahead of Hillary Clinton in a nationwide sample. Who knows where things will stand six months from now?

As an aside, wasn’t it fun to watch the Nevada Democratic delegate selection process descend into a booing session (targeting California Sen. Barbara Boxer, certainly a boo-worthy figure) and then become an altercation where the police had to restore order? (The headline on the Real Clear Politics website’s story was, “Chaos At Nevada Democratic Convention; State Party Chair Flees Building As Sanders Supporters Demand Recount.”)

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters aren’t exactly going gently into that good night, a fact which led the state party’s lawyer to caution that they threatened the Democratic convention this summer.

“Having seen up close the lack of conscience or concern for the ramifications of their actions — indeed, the glee with which they engaged in such destructive behavior — we expect similar tactics at the National Convention in July,” wrote Bradley Schrager in a letter dated Monday.

Makes you wonder how many Sandernistas are going to support Clinton in November. Assuming she makes it that far, of course.

On May 11, FBI Director James Comey reinforced that his agency was conducting “an investigation — that’s what we do” — not, as Clinton has often claimed, a mere “security inquiry” into her private-server emails as secretary of state.

Thus, if you believe that Vice President Joe Biden was merely speaking off the cuff by saying that “if” he had run, he would have picked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, you might want to adjust the sensitivity setting on your Democratic Duplicity Detector.

Here’s hoping Sanders, who has been a Democrat about as long as Trump has been a Republican (and actually does better than Clinton against him in the polls), keeps fighting all the way to the Philadelphia convention.

Would Clinton make him her running mate? If not, wouldn’t a third-party socialist-themed campaign be really exciting? Run, Bernie, run!

Back to LePage: If the conventional wisdom about the extremely unconventional Trump is right, voters — potentially including many Mainers — are looking for an outsider this year. Might they be of the same opinion (or even more so) two years from now?

LePage does the outsider shtick better than almost anyone else — because he actually is one.

If voters want someone to protect them from what is widely believed to be a conspiracy of the elites to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary Americans (who have seen abundant evidence that “crony capitalism” is a Washington way of life), then LePage may be just what the downtrodden-feeling masses ordered.

And the slicker and smoother any insider opponent appears to be, the greater the contrast will become between them.

Still, LePage, who is highly unlikely to make a decision to run any time soon, also seems to believe that if Trump wins the presidency, he might find a place in his administration for Maine’s governor, who is his most prominent state supporter.

I must admit there is a Trump administration job I would love to see Paul LePage accept.

Why, press secretary, of course.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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