Monday, May 20, 2013
WATERVILLE -- Paul LePage came down the stairs of his Main Street home, walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table, where his family surrounded him.
It was before 9 p.m. Tuesday and only two percent of the vote had been counted.
"Nervous," he said, when asked how he was feeling. "It's 15 months of your life and disrupting your family and taking a run. You got to leave it up to the Maine people tonight. It's all about running, running, running and now you sit back and wait."
Less than a mile down Main Street at Champions, a fitness and banquet center, about 600 supporters rallied for LePage, the Republican candidate for governor, and awaited his appearance.
"He's going to make a superior governor because he understands fiscal responsibility," said his chief of staff, John Morris. "He clearly knows that government is too large and not friendly to business because of the unruly and oppressive regulations."
LePage supporters packed two floors of Champions, eating, sipping drinks and watching large-screen televisions showing election results.
Wearing red, white and blue LePage hats, stickers and buttons, they occasionally chanted, "Paul LePage! Paul LePage!"
Brent and Lisa Dugal of Sidney were confident he was going to win.
"I think his record is exactly what people are looking for, and the timing for him couldn't be better," Brent Dugal said. "Nationwide, the movement is toward fiscal responsibility and that's what Paul represents."
Back at home, as her husband, showered and dressed upstairs before coming down to greet visitors, LePage's wife, Ann, appeared calm and confident.
"I am anxious," she said. "I feel good. My true feelings are, whatever happens is meant to happen and that's the road that we're meant to go down."
Family members from Canada and Florida were milling about in the kitchen and living rooms, watch election results on television and chatting about the campaign.
"I know he's going to win," his mother-in-law, Rita DeRosby, of Florida, said. "I know him real well. I think he's going to clean house. He's going to take the fat off. He'll make it so people can have more money in their pockets."
She said her son-in-law is not the bully he is made out to be in television ads.
"He's mellow," she said. "On the news, he looks intimidating, but he's not."
The LePages' daughter, Lauren, said there was no doubt in her mind that her father was going to win the election.
"He's a man of character," she said. "He's a man of his word. He truly has a passion for turning the state around for Maine people."
Later, asked if he would do it all over again, LePage said he would not.
While he met a lot of great people on the campaign trail, the campaign itself was nasty and very negative, he said.
"For people to demonize and criticize and go after people with hate -- it's crazy," he said. "If we continue down this path, this society is in real serious danger."
If elected, he said he would do something about the law that prevents candidates from having a say in ads against their opponents.
He said some of the things said in ads against his opponents, Independent candidate Eliot Cutler and Democrat Libby Mitchell, were "exaggerated and over the top."
"I would have stopped every one of them," he said. "I hated them. If I win, I am going to make sure we go in and find a way to change that."
Amy Calder -- 861-9247