The Washington Times - July 3, 2013, 08:22AM

Tea-party-backed Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced he will seek a second term in office — ending speculation of his political future, including the possibility that he would run for Congress.

The Portland Press Herald reported that Mr. LePage, a Republican who has become a divisive figure in the state, announced his plans at a private fundraiser Tuesday evening that featured former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.


“There were a lot of cheers,” GOP state Sen. Andre Cushing told the newspaper. “He certainly seems ready to go.”

Mr. LePage’s announcement comes weeks after Mr. LePage opted for somewhat lewd remarks during a heated budget battle with a Democratic state Sen. Troy Jackson.

“Senator Jackson claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline,” Mr. LePage told ABC affiliate WMTW before walking away.

Mr. Page later dialed back his remarks.

“Listen, dammit, that comment is not politically correct,” he said. “But we gotta understand who this man is. This man is a bad person. He doesn’t only have no brains; he has a black heart.”

Mr. LePage has a track record of making controversial comments.

He has compared the role the IRS plays in President Obama’s health care law to Hitler’s Gestapo and told the state’s NAACP to “kiss my butt” after they felt slighted by the governor when he opted against attending Martin Luther King Jr. Day events. (Mr. LePage has an adopted son from Jamaica.)

The Press Herald reported that the event on Tuesday was the first major fundraiser of Mr. LePage’s re-election effort.

U.S. Rep. Michael H. Michaud, a Democrat, is exploring a bid and already has raised $300,000 for the race. The Press Herald said that independent Eliot Cutler, who came close to defeating Mr. LePage in 2010, also is considering a bid.