Paul LePage: Speculation about US Senate bid is ‘fake news’

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. —Andrew Harnik / AP, File

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage reiterated Thursday he will not seek a U.S. Senate seat next year, calling the speculation “fake news.”

LePage repeatedly used the term when asked about a Washington Post report that quotes an anonymous White House adviser saying President Donald Trump wants the fellow Republican to run against independent Sen. Angus King.

“I’m a doer” and “they don’t do anything in the Senate,” LePage said.

It’s no secret that Trump is a big fan of LePage, who has spoken alongside the president at Trump’s rallies and made a trip to Washington to support Trump’s decision to review national monuments designated by former President Barack Obama’s administration.

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LePage is a fiscal conservative who has steadied Maine’s finances even as he grabbed nation headlines for such antics as leaving threatening comments for a lawmaker in a voicemail message and making erroneous claims that blacks and Hispanics are arrested most in state drug trafficking cases.

He previously said he wouldn’t run for Senate but later said he’d reconsider if candidate Eric Brakey, a Republican state senator, failed to gain traction.

Brakey reported raising about $126,000 from March through September, according to federal campaign finance reports. He said he will not be distracted “by Washington gossip.”

King reported a war chest of $1.5 million at the end of September.

LePage is not the only one being courted by Republicans to run for Senate.

Maine first lady Ann LePage told a conservative radio host in October that Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon called her to lobby her to run against King.