PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s controversial town hall meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday evening in Westbrook reportedly has been canceled.
Two reporters from Portland television station WGME, CBS 13, tweeted the news of the cancellation — which came the same day that the governor’s office announced he would hold the town hall in Westbrook, the home of a political rival.
A spokeswoman for the governor did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Unconfirmed media reports Monday night indicated that operators of the venue where the public forum was scheduled to be held canceled the event.
The news came after LePage met privately Monday evening with Republican legislative leaders, who had said earlier in the day that they would pursue “corrective action” against LePage.
LePage had planned to use the event to “deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents,” according to a news release issued Monday morning.
But the timing of the event, days after the governor said he would like to engage in a gun duel with Rep. Drew Gattine, drew criticism from some politicians, who said it was merely a continuation of LePage’s attack on the legislator.
“I would like to take it as a sign of the governor is trying to move Maine forward, but sadly what I think anyone would take it as is just another way for him to pick a fight,” said Brendan Rielly, president of Westbrook’s City Council.
LePage last week left a voicemail for Gattine, calling him a “little son-of-a-bitch, socialist c—ksucker,” after the lawmaker criticized LePage’s earlier comments about black and Hispanic drug dealers. LePage later told the Portland Press Herald that he’d like to have a duel with Gattine and point his gun “right between” Gattine’s eyes.
On Friday, the governor said the reference to a duel was “simply a metaphor.” He also apologized to the “people of Maine” for using the obscenity but made a point of not apologizing to Gattine.
Those events led Rielly, and two other Westbrook city leaders, to issue a statement on Friday that criticized the governor, calling his tirade “insanity.” Likewise, Democratic lawmakers demanded LePage’s resignation last week, saying that he is “unfit” to fulfill the duties of his office. And on Monday afternoon, Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau called for the governor to take “corrective action.”
“It’s unbelievable that the governor plans to hold a town hall in Westbrook on the heels of his threats toward Rep. Drew Gattine,” said Democratic House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe. “This erratic behavior is why we and many Republicans do not have faith in his ability to hold his office.”