After ‘duel’ comment, leaders say they saw different side of LePage

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BOSTON — Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who publicly said he wished he could challenge a Maine lawmaker to a duel, has a less belligerent reputation among his peers from New England and eastern Canada.

“He didn’t challenge me to a duel,” Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, said at a press conference at the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers on Monday.

LePage attended the conference earlier in the day, but neither he nor Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin attended the afternoon presser held at the Hynes Convention Center.

The Portland Press Herald on Friday reported that the Republican governor was enraged by Rep. Drew Gattine, a Democrat, believing Gattine had called him a racist. The governor left Gattine an “expletive-laden phone message,” which LePage publicized, and told reporters he was so angry he would like to challenge Gattine to a duel and put a gun to his head.

“I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be (Alexander) Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt,” LePage said, according to the paper.

Asked whether LePage’s remarks comported with the person they know and whether they would publicly respond to them, the international group of elected officials spoke up for their peer without defending the remarks or chose not to weigh in on the matter.

“Governor LePage was a thoughtful and active participant in all the conversations that we’ve had here. He didn’t challenge me to a duel either,” said Gov. Charlie Baker, following Malloy.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard noted an agreement he had recently made with LePage regarding a charging station for electric cars.

“I guess that you could say that we were quite far away from a duel,” Couillard said.

According to the Press Herald, LePage interpreted from an exchange with a reporter that Gattine had called him a racist, which Gattine denied, after LePage claimed 90 percent of drug dealers arrested in Maine are black or Hispanic.

— Written by Andy Metzger

Copyright State House News Service