No, Paul LePage is not resigning as governor. Instead, he’s continuing his playground-like tactics by almost literally taking his ball and going home. LePage announced to legislative leaders today that he will be vacating his office space in the State House on July 1st and moving out of the building.
“This action by the governor is unprecedented, but nonetheless consistent with his pattern of behavior,” said Democratic Speaker Mark Eves in a release. “Storming out when you don’t get what you want is not leadership. He continues to be an unwilling partner at every turn and that is unfortunate for the people of Maine.”
The dispute that led to this strange move doesn’t have anything to do with LePage’s contentious budget, or even Democrats’ plans to expand medicaid and pay back Maine’s hospitals. Instead, it appears to be a result of a dispute over the Governor’s decision to place a television in the Hall of Flags outside his office, a space technically under the purview of the legislature.
Yesterday, both sides seemed to acknowledge that the disagreement was ridiculous, with LePage spokesperson Adrian Bennett telling WMTW “We absolutely have better things to talk about than where a TV is placed” and Speaker Eves saying that the TV could remain in place so the issue wouldn’t be “distracting the governor from focusing on the work at hand.”
The attitude of the administration seems to have changed overnight, however, and the disagreement over the flat screen television is now apparently important enough for the governor to abandon his space in the State House.
No word yet whether LePage will be moving into a state office building, working from the Blaine House or retreating to a secret lair beneath a volcanic island.