- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - For Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the good days have been few and far between in recent weeks.

He was criticized for using a profane acronym of the president’s name, saying Indians are the hardest ethnic group to understand, holding an illegal closed-door meeting and calling two students “idiots” for holding up signs chastising him during a university event.

But finally came good news on Tuesday: A federal judge tossed a lawsuit accusing LePage of abuse of power, and his family adopted a Jack Russell terrier and drew chuckles over its name.

A University of Maine political science professor says the ups and downs shouldn’t really come as a surprise for an unconventional politician who shoots for the moon when it comes to policy initiatives and likes to brag that he’s not politically correct.

“When you get one of those people, their highs are going to be higher and their lows are going to be lower, and there’s going to be more distance in between those,” Mark Brewer says.

Enjoying his good day, a smiling governor was seen with his new dog before the judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing him of using blackmail to force a charter operator to rescind a job offer to a political opponent. Democrats tried and failed on an effort to impeach him over the matter.

Looking ahead, the governor is unlikely to change tactics.

He still has some big goals before he leaves office: Lowering energy costs, further reforming welfare, and reducing or eliminating income taxes. He is pressing Republican voters to elect more lawmakers like him in November to rid the Legislature of obstacles to his agenda.

While people love to talk about LePage’s latest actions, similar to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, the LePage portrayed in the media doesn’t jibe with what people around the governor see, says Brent Littlefield, his senior adviser.

The governor’s difficult childhood followed by business success later in life make him unusual, “but he’s still a regular guy and he’d much prefer to be in a pair of blue jeans and polo shirt just talking to people,” he says.

LePage also has a sense of humor that was shown in the name he selected for his pet: Maine’s all-time veto champ named it Veto.


Follow David Sharp on Twitter at https://twitter.com/David_Sharp_AP. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-sharp.



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