June 9, 2010

LePage, supporters celebrate Republican victory

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Mayor Paul LePage swept the Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday night, winning about 38 percent of votes counted by around midnight.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage claps as supporters surround him when it was announced that he won the Republican primary late Tueday in Waterville. At right is LePage's wife Ann.

Staff photo by David Leamin

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OVERWHELMED: Republican gubernatorial primary winner Paul LePage claps as supporters cheer him at a campaign rally on Tuesday night. LePage repeatedly said he was overwhelmed by the victory.

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"I'm ecstatic -- I'm overwhelmed," LePage said, just after he was declared the winner. "This is the greatest day of my life."

LePage celebrated  in a colorful, raucous party at Cancun Mexican Restaurant downtown with friends and supporters from all over the state.

LePage ran on a platform that called for welfare, educational and regulatory reform. He spent under $200,000 on his campaign and relied heavily on volunteers.

In his victory speech at about 11:20 p.m. ,  LePage said he was indebted to all the people who  helped him win.

"This win is not abut ideology, it's not about party, it's not about anything other than one thing -- this is for Maine people," he said.  "This is the beginning of turning the state of Maine around."

Before becoming general manager of Marden's Surplus & Salvage  stores statewide in 1996, LePage was a consultant who turned financially-troubled companies around. He was elected mayor in 2003 after serving two terms as a city councilor. His focus for several years has been decreasing the tax rate and reducing debt.

He is a Republican mayor in a predominantly Democratic city and presides over a City Council with six Democrats and one unenrolled councilor.

A Lewiston native and the second-oldest of 18 children, LePage came from a poor, dysfunctional family and ran away from home at the age of 11 and lived on the streets  until people took him in. He graduated from Lewiston High School and went on to college to receive bachelor's and master's degrees.


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Additional Photos

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage speaks on a cellphone as he acknowledges Shawn Marquis for his win in the primary on Tuesday night. At right is Ann LePage.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate winner Paul LePage speaks on a phone during a concession call from candidate Les Otten Tuesday night.


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