AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s Democratic secretary of state says Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s recent behavior has caused outrage but that doesn’t mean he can’t keep performing as governor.

A group of independent and Democratic lawmakers had asked Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to invoke a never-before-used constitutional provision they said would let Dunlap start the process of temporarily removing LePage for being unfit to serve.

Dunlap on Thursday called LePage’s conduct “reprehensible.” But he says Maine’s constitution doesn’t detail how the provision would work and says he lacks “manifest evidence” LePage is unable to serve.

Critics want to punish LePage for an obscenity-laden voice mail and threats directed at a legislator.

Independent state Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos says Democrats with “gubernatorial ambitions” lack the courage to hold LePage responsible for violent language.

LePage has apologized and says he won’t resign.

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