As all of Maine and most of the country is already aware, Donald Trump held a rally in Portland this past Thursday. He was introduced by Governor Paul LePage, who has openly endorsed Trump for President. Naturally the rally had its fair share of protesters, one of whom shouted into the crowd, “vote Sunday,” which, to the crowd’s amusement, Governor LePage quipped, “No, the Democrats will vote next Sunday, don’t tell them this week.” The rally proceeded as planned, Trump went on his way and Mainers went home, more prepared to make the important choice of whom to vote for at the Republican Caucus this Saturday. However, it appears one Mainer went home with a different agenda.
Jeff Evangelos, an “Independent” representative from Friendship decided that LePage’s jest was worthy of filing a complaint with the Secretary of State claiming “voter suppression.” He explained the reasoning for his complaint via a written statement to the Bangor Daily News, “The idea that a sitting chief executive would willfully and intentionally lie about an election or caucus date in a clear effort to suppress voter turnout is just the latest example of Mr. LePage’s contempt for the rule of law and contempt for common decency and fair play.” LePage’s spokesman, Peter Steele responded to the Bangor Daily News, “Clearly, the Governor was joking and the crowd laughed. If Rep. Evangelos is so concerned, he should officially join the Democrats instead of poorly disguising himself as an Independent and help get the word out about their caucuses.”
Steele makes a valid point, why wouldn’t Rep. Evangelos just join the Democrats or run as one in the first place? Probably because he tried that in 2004 and lost. That’s ok Rep. Evangelos, you ran as an Independent because you are persistent, it paid off, you got the seat. Persistence is a funny thing though, it’s great when it works and you achieve your goal. There’s the old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” a saying which the Representative has clearly taken to heart, especially when it comes to the Governor.
Rep. Evangelos has a long record of repeated offenses, or rather, repeatedly being offended by Governor LePage. Prior to filing with the Secretary of State he was one of the legislators leading the committee to impeach the Governor earlier this year. This is interesting because he is also one of the legislators Governor LePage claimed tried to bribe him in a sort of ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ situation. Of course Rep. Evangelos vehemently denies any bribery allegations and was sure to let the Bangor Daily News how, “He’s lying, trying to defame us… It’s slander, it fits the definition of slander and he better be smart and issue an apology or we will take action.”
Going back to 2013, Rep. Evangelos contributed an op-ed to the Bangor Daily News in which he discusses why he, an “Independent”, favors Mike Michaud in the gubernatorial race. Or that’s what he was supposed to discuss. Rather he spends half of the op-ed discussing why he doesn’t, for lack of a better term, ‘like’ Governor LePage, among other tedious reasons he believes the Governor is ill suited to the position. Rep. Evangelos cites Governor LePage’s, “insults and crude language,” and assures Mainers that, “Help is on the way. Just one more year, and the nightmare will be over.”
I cannot imagine how Rep. Evangelos feels. It’s 2016 and he is still stuck in this nightmare; it must be terrible for him. What I don’t understand is if it is so terrible for him, if he is so personally offended by the Governor, why does he make it his priority to hang on to every word out of Governor LePage’s mouth? Why does he allow good natured jokes to personally affect him, so much that he goes out of his way to file a complaint on behalf of a Party he doesn’t even belong to? When will it be enough? The impeachment shenanigan didn’t work. Get over it. I’m sure there are so many better things he can do with his time that don’t involve feeling offended.
As for Governor LePage, perhaps it’s time to ask Rep. Evangelos, in the infamous words of Regina George from Mean Girls, “Why are you so obsessed with me?”