Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: The return of the Florida Man

Al Diamon

“The Governor shall, at the commencement of the Governor’s term … have been 5 years a resident of the State; and at the time of election and during the term for which elected, be a resident of said State.”
• Maine Constitution, Article 5, Part First, Section 4

That seems clear enough: No creepy foreigners need apply. But as with many things constitutional, it’s not as straightforward as it appears. One picky point could have a profound effect on the 2022 gubernatorial election.

It concerns this question: Can a Florida Man be elected governor of Maine?

For those not familiar with the term, Florida Man is an internet meme for guys from the dangling state who do really stupid things. For instance, one of them tried to rob a store wearing a transparent plastic bag over his head as a disguise. Another was arrested for possession of drugs while sporting a t-shirt that said, “Who Needs Drugs: No seriously, I have drugs.”

You get the idea. Florida Man isn’t really qualified to play with sharp objects, let alone run a state. Yet somehow, the constitutional drafters neglected to exclude such boobs from holding that office. This oversight paves the way for the return of former Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Since early 2019, LePage has been a legal resident of the Sunshine State, where he lives in a fancy house in a gated community. A superficial reading of the Constitution would seem to indicate he won’t be qualified to run for governor because he won’t have been living here for the five years before the 2022 election. But legal scholars say that isn’t actually required. He just has to have been a resident for some unspecified five-year period and to once again live in Maine by the time we get around to voting.

Seems illogical. But, then again, we’re talking about LePage, the quintessential Florida Man.

In recent weeks, the ex-governor has said he’ll make a decision after this November’s election on whether he’ll attempt to return to the Blaine House. He’s also made it clear he’s not pleased with many decisions made by current Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, such as expanding Medicaid, funding Planned Parenthood and not treating her political opponents like jerks. LePage is said to be concerned the state is becoming too polite.

If LePage decided to run, there’s no guarantee he’ll be successful. In both his campaigns for the chief executive’s spot, he fell short of winning a majority, slipping into office thanks to third-party candidates who drained away enough votes to grant him a plurality victory. Since the state doesn’t have ranked-choice voting in gubernatorial elections, that strategy still might work. But Mills won in 2018 with more than half the vote, besting a candidate endorsed by LePage. Unless the incumbent does something to severely damage her approval rating, the numbers don’t appear favorable for the ex-guv.

There’s another problem. Many influential Republicans are taking the possibility of a LePage candidacy seriously. That will make it difficult for other GOP contenders to raise money or build an organization. If LePage dithers around long enough and then decides not to run (as he did when he threatened to challenge independent U.S. Sen. Angus King in 2018), that could leave the elephant party with no credible options for challenging Mills.

Unless you consider ex-Congressman Bruce Poliquin or current congressional candidate Eric Brakey credible. Otherwise, LePage’s ego trip could virtually guarantee Mills a second term.

That would be a very Florida Man thing to do. Sort of like the fella who danced on a police patrol car in order to “escape vampires.” Or the prospective customer who stole a new BMW after the salesperson told him he couldn’t buy it with food stamps. Or the one who gave the cops his dash cam video to prove he didn’t commit a traffic violation, even though it showed him committing a robbery.

Maybe the drafters of our Constitution didn’t exclude such clunkheads because our founders had a sense of humor.

I’m going to Disney World. But you can still email me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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35 Responses »

  1. Diamon makes a factual error here. RCV is not currently applied to governor's races.

  2. "Unless the incumbent does something to severely damage her approval ratings".....seriously Al.....she has been damaging from day one!!

  3. Brakey is correct. No ranked choice in the governor’s race. I’ve sent a corrected version of that paragraph.
    Cheers,
    Al Diamon

  4. Al, 10 of Maine's governors have served more than 2 terms, Albion Parris served 5, Joshua Chamberlain served 4, then the rules changed following the next election to the common 2 4 year terms rather than the standard 1 year term and serve until you lose, retire or die method that was used. But the 1 term break is a nod to the old ways, that until LePage, nobody has challenged to run a third time. But unlike Mills, LePage had actually done good by the same amount of time that Mills has been in office and has done next to nothing that actually does anything to help the people of Maine. LePage paid the hospital debt and funded nursing and retirement homes, Mills expanded Mainecare and extended it to 20,000 refugees and she has no visible plan for paying for it, she didn't sign the bill that would have funded the nursing homes. LePage saw to fixing the roads and Maine's aging infrastructure, Mills has largely ignored it, instead focusing on absolutely pointless things, solar panels at a 157 year old historic site, seriously, what good did that do? Had LePage said he was going to do that, people would have lost their minds and said it was wasteful spending(which it is). If LePage does decide to come back and run I would vote for him, I wouldn't vote for Mills if Bloomberg offered me half his fortune with stock options.

  5. Mills has done everything she can to reverse the forward financial progress that LePage did for Maine. I'm looking forward to her being a one-termer!!

  6. Al, your hopeless gossip ruined my placid morning, upset my domestic tranquility.

    We the people, do not approve of this drunken sailor spending of our prudent reserves left in our treasury by Paul LaPage.
    We do not approve of closing down dozens of nursing homes and displacing our elderly and most vulnerable and cherished citizens.
    We do not approve of our crumbling infrastructure, roads and bridges because the hands in the cookie jar spend and spend on their feel good social causes. We do not approve of Maine being the only state itself of charging a company with federal crimes, while MANDATING its residents to purchase their products in order to secure a public education for their children, and offering no exemptions to those whose concience will not allow them to do business with criminals.

    Is that enough, I've got more.

  7. Do we have a governor?
    Don't hear much news out of Agusta these days .
    It's always scarey with with the media friendly Democrats in charge .
    It's not till their gone and someone like governor LePage comes along and tries to mop up the mess and balance the books do we realise how our tax dollars spent .

  8. Mills is already racking up a bill at the hospitals again. Go talk with folks at FMH that’s where I heard it. Our infrastructure is not getting fixed because our tax dollars are being wasted on other things like free health care for young people that should be out there fixing our roads and bridges. There’s a bridge in New Portland known to the locals as the “East” that is all but fallen into the river and now it won’t be fixed this year either because of her reckless spending. I will vote for LePage a thousand times before I could ever vote for Mills once.
    “Don’t blame me I voted for Moody”

  9. There was a swimming hole under the East Village bridge before the wooden dam went away. Best swim hole ever.
    We have a governor named Mills?

  10. H B,I'd vote for mills if Bloomy gave me half his fortune, then if she won i would move to Florida.I can be bought but I'm not cheap,Well maybe not,I've been to Florida,didn't like it.Maine can not afford to elect mills again,even the dumbocrats should figure that out before the next election.

  11. I'll just address the suggestion that infrastructure spending has taken a hit since LePage left office. The following numbers were taken directly from Appropriation and Allocation data maintained by the state which are available on the state website.

    Highway Fund Totals
    2015 - 2016 $323,554,282
    2016 - 2017 $319,230,040
    2017 - 2018 $337,446,481
    2018 - 2019 $338,863,722
    2019 - 2020 $341,933,293
    2020 - 2021 $338,368,511

    As you can clearly see the 2-year budget passed last year maintains keeps highway spending greater than those established 2017 - 2018. While I have no doubt this does not address every shortcoming, as you point out, it hardly represents the lackadaisical attitude you toward infrastructure that you portray.

  12. I'll just address the suggestion that infrastructure spending has taken a hit since LePage left office. The following numbers were taken directly from Appropriation and Allocation data maintained by the state. You can find them on the state website.

    Highway Fund Totals
    2015 - 2016 $323,554,282
    2016 - 2017 $319,230,040
    2017 - 2018 $337,446,481
    2018 - 2019 $338,863,722
    2019 - 2020 $341,933,293
    2020 - 2021 $338,368,511

    As you can clearly see the 2-year budget passed last year keeps highway spending levels greater than those established 2017 - 2018. While I have no doubt this does not address every shortcoming, as you point out, it hardly represents the lackadaisical attitude toward infrastructure that you portray.

  13. Al, I'm please that "Florida Man" has finally gotten some recognition but I started it so give credit where it's due.

    RBO- It's actually a breath of fresh air to me that our Governor is not out making ridiculously childish public statements just for the attention as the Florida Man is so well known for. Mill's is not a National Enquirer level entertainer but that's a good thing. Perhaps we haven't heard as much in the news about her becasue she's working, that's what happens to hard working people they tend to be too busy for sideshows.

    Awww- seems there is a lot of work being done around the State if you "want" to look. I just watched a new bridge go in on the Shaw Hill Rd in Industry/Starks, not sure which town at that point. Also, here is a projected 94M in 2020 projects by the MTA if the link will pass the comment section. If not just look it up. https://www.maineturnpike.com/Projects-Planning/Construction-Projects.aspx

    It seems like right off the bat there's just a lot of instant hate becasue Mills has a D next to her political affiliation but that's the Nationalists mantra these days.

  14. Mills endorses more charging stations for the little ‘toy’ electric cars but isn’t bright enough to realize that soon only Humvees will be able to navigate our roads. And how about her welcoming asylum seekers with open arms and paying for it with our tax dollars?
    LePage will win in a landslide if he chooses to run. And it will be like Christmas every day for Al who obviously is infatuated with his man!

  15. It is about priorities. Showing the budget does not address the additional cost to Maine taxpayers when these Highway expenditures are bonded out.

    LaPage left Maine treasury with a significant surplus of Maine taxpayer's money to cover our infrastructure funding.

    Maine taxpayer's money was rapidly and frivolously spent on several 'special interest' projects during the current administration.

    It is about priorities and the unacceptable spending of Maine taxpayer's money by grasping 'special interest' groups.

    Would you spend your cash reserves to party with your friends on a lavish vacation and then borrow money to purchase a vehicle so you could go to work to pay back the loan?

    There is a big difference between wants and needs. Charity begins at home.

  16. Wrong answer, Keep It Real, some of us object to the Mills Dynasty and their behavior, not the party affiliation.

  17. Correction, that was wrong answer, Slammo.....no problem addmiting my mistakes...

  18. Slammo.. Great that you are a fan of the Lady in Blue that works so hard.. As for the Florida Man.. he done a good job and seem to survive for many years without being on a government udder...unlike the present Gov.. Also I have no problem with the former governor coming back to run the state... Two of our congresspeople are from away with another couple in the running for the other two seats... Also, Sammo... great that you having a new bridge on the Shaw Hill Road... How long ago was that in the 'planning stage'? As for your other list of projects... All on the Maine Turnpike.. They are separate from the MDOT budget.. When they want a project all they have to do is raise the toll... Then they have all that money to spend... Do you know where the Prior head of the MTA is now?

  19. You all do realize you're part of a special interest group, right? You practically parrot one another as you share your adoration for LePage and disgust of Mills. You've all selected infrastructure as your topic of concern as you attempt to demonstrate why even. Talk about group think.

  20. Keeping it Real, LePage passed a 2 year budget that would carry the state to 2020, And his last amount is higher than Mills' first amount. and since the projects the planning, the bidding, the approval, and work commencing can take better than a year, so you can't say Mills did it when the ongoing projects are LePage holdovers. So post again in 2021 when LePage's projects are completed and see what Mills did.

  21. I was never a fan of LePage and austere but nonstrategic governorship. But the incumbents support for the CMP corridor I am afraid may be her downfall and make the race a tossup. You can't oppose the will on a large majority of passionate Maine citizens, many of who were staunch supporters who feel kicked in the guts and expect a vote.

  22. "where he lives in a fancy house in a gated community". How unnecessarily snide, sounds like Al's got small house syndrome. Hopefully at some point LePage will return to living in that fancy house in Augusta called the Blaine House.

  23. Now that I've had an opportunity to look closer at past threads I see that the lot of you also vehemently oppose the CMP project to send hydroelectric power through Maine. Given the statements you've made here opposing upgrades that would improve infrastructure devoted to electric vehicles I think it's safe to assume you're all anti-alternative energy as well. You don't get much more special interest than that.

    Proponents of a fossil fuels only energy source supporting another term for LePage. Need I say more?

  24. We, the people, sure are a special interest group. We are the working class heroes, traveling Maine's infrastructure, every day, so we can pay those taxes to the grand old State of Maine. You know, the cookie jar.

    We want to keep young working folks, and their families in the state, to keep filling that cookie jar? We need a new direction for our domestic tranquility. Guaranteed by the Constitution. The Preamble. Right up front there after, 'We the people'...

  25. Florida is full of gated communities with rich and not so rich old people that cant see very good,run very fast but dont want to get robbed.The rest could be explained by a book or movie titled FREELOADER EVOLUTION and that would be one h- ll of a story. HRTLSS made a good point on the Lepage leftover projects. It will be a while before we see Mills true colors and total package and direction she is going.

  26. Darryl- You might not realize this but LePage supported the corridor project and even "tried" to make a secret trip on the taxpayers dime to Spain to meet with CMP officials. It was found out and reportedby the free press even though it was not on his public adjenda. He is currently a (paid 8k) spokes person for CMP and the Corridor project. Just something to consider when we make it partisian.

    My take- "How unnecessarily snide, sounds like Al's got small house syndrome." I love the contradiction in your statemet, lol.

  27. Keep it real I like power that is cheap, not government funded welfare power. There’s a difference.
    Slammo the bridge is in Industry on the Shaw hill rd. One of Lepages projects and as Glen pointed out as well the turnpike authority didn’t get their budget cut by mills to pay for healthcare and asylum seekers.
    As an Independent I can say that no matter which party, I like being able to criticize either side. The thing is the left makes it easier to find fault and they get mad when people can see through their bs.

  28. Slammo,,
    Where have you been hiding?

    The New Mantra is,
    "KEEP AMERICA GREAT".

    The Old Mantra was,
    "Make America Great Again".

    How could anyone have missed this,??
    Well,,, now you know.

    Trump 2020 !!

  29. Awww - You clearly haven't done your research. The fossil fuels industry is still heavily subsidized decades after the need for such assistance was made unnecessary by industry profits.

    "For fiscal year 2019, Congress appropriated $740 million forFossil Energy Research and Development, with continued emphasis on the continued use of coal-fired power. Despite significant federal investment, Carbon Capture and Storage technology is unlikely to sustain the domestic use of coal power."

    You'll like this one, Forbes magazine tells us that the industry receives ten times the subsidies that education does.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/06/15/united-states-spend-ten-times-more-on-fossil-fuel-subsidies-than-education/

  30. This looks fun. It offers a comparison of subsidies provided to fossil fuels, nuclear power, and wind/solar over the decades.

    Federal subsidies for fossil fuel production in 2015 and 2016 were nearly $15 billion a year, according to a study by Oil Change International.The American Wind Energy Association, or AWEA, estimates that since World War II, fossil fuel subsidies total more than $600 billion. Taxpayers’ return on investment: the worsening climate crisis, dirty air that threatens public health, oil spills and toxic waste.

    Since the beginning of the nuclear age, federal funding just for research and development of nuclear power have topped $100 billion, says the Congressional Research Service. AWEA’s estimate for all federal subsidies to the nuclear industry during that period is nearly twice that much. ROI: Huge cost overruns passed on to utility customers; aging and crumbling reactors riskily kept running longer than they were built for; tens of thousands of tons of radioactive waste that will remain dangerous for many millennia.

    Federal subsidies for wind and solar projects and technology development totaled about $75 billion over the past decade, according to EWG’s analysis of data from the Treasury Department, Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Research Service. That’s less than 2 percent of the entire federal budget for last year. ROI: cleaner and healthier air, cheaper electricity, billions in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

  31. I only have one thing to say.

    """ WELCOME "HOME" , PAUL """

  32. Keep it reel, I fully support the NECEC, and have right from the get go. There is nothing green about alternative energy other than the money it takes to create it. If Maine was going to use wind energy , we would need another 2600 turbines, that's a lot of land clearing for transmission lines, turbine pads, access roads, not to mention all the fossil fuels used by the mining equipment to get the ore to make the steel, aluminum, copper, or should carbon fiber be used, the petroleum products needed to make the carbon fiber. People want to lessen the reliance on fossil fuels for electricity, as long as it comes from somebody else's state, kind of selfish of them really.

  33. Keep it real lets do some math shall we ? Since WW11 $600 billion spent over 75 yrs. $75 billion in the last decade = $ 562.5 billion in the same 75 yrs. Doesn’t seem like it saves us much for what it costs to produce. Don’t forget that not all of the $600 billion was for energy production that is for all fossil fuel subsidies from the government. You should talk Jim LaBreque. He is a carbon mitigation specialist that has done a lot of work on this topic and can explain to you why these “green energy” sources are nothing more than a scam on taxpayers. He can explain how the new governor putting solar panels on a historic building in the state’s capital is a waste of our tax dollars.

  34. Well Al, you sure got the LePlague toadies fired up with this one. :)

  35. Mills is not quiet! The leftest media is quiet! I can't believe the people who pass judgement based on the media's blatant and un-apologetic biased coverage. LePage was treated like any other conservative in the news today. Un-fairly. Period.

    Did anyone vote for Mills? I don't think she even won. I would not put it past the Demoncrats if they stole the election. Look at their track record. Has anyone contested the validity of the results? No. That would up to the Republican sheep who are afraid to stand up. The democrat party has gone full tilt on the death and destruction of American patriots and the republicans are complaisant.

    Abolish the 2 Parties!

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