Washington Post calls for Maine governor to resign

File photo of Maine Governor LePage speaking at the 23rd Annual Energy Trade & Technology Conference in Boston

BOSTON (Reuters) – The Washington Post on Wednesday called on Maine Governor Paul LePage to resign, following a series of incidents in which the two-term Republican made racially charged statements and threatened a Democratic lawmaker in an obscenity-laden email.

LePage, whose term extends through 2018, last month lashed out at a state lawmaker who criticized his comments blaming black and Hispanic people from out of state for the heroin trade in Maine.

In an editorial titled “Maine’s unhinged governor,” the newspaper wrote “LePage threatens to remake his state’s image from a vacation paradise of surreal natural beauty to a hotbed of hatred.”

LePage had told reporters he had collected a three-ring binder of people arrested for trafficking drugs in the state and that 90 percent of those in it were black or Hispanic. The governor released the binder this week and a review by local media found that closer to one in three arrestees in it matched LePage’s description.

Maine legislative leaders last month briefly considered convening a special session to reprimand LePage for the outburst, but the effort collapsed with the two parties unable to agree on whether they wanted to censure him or pursue impeachment.

A spokeswoman for the governor dismissed the editorial as biased.

“The Post did not contact anyone from the governor’s office to fact-check this biased piece of propaganda,” spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said in an email. “Clearly, the Post editorial board is exempt from reporting facts.”

Asked about what factual inaccuracies in the editorial concerned the governor, Bennett challenged the Post’s description of LePage declining to attend a 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Day event hosted by the state’s NAACP chapter, noting that he had instead attended a Rotary Club event honoring the slain civil rights activist.

At the time that he declined the NAACP’s invitation, in his first month as governor, LePage said that critics of his decision could “kiss my butt.”

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Lisa Shumaker)