Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage re-registered as a Florida voter 128 days after losing the Maine gubernatorial election in November.
LePage re-enrolled to vote in the state on March 16, according to a voter file posted online by Maine journalist and podcaster Crash Barry. The former governor famously moved to Florida after leaving office in 2019 only to return in 2020 as he prepared to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills in 2022.
In November, LePage lost in a landslide to Mills, which the centrist Democrat said was a repudiation by voters of her opponent’s legacy of slashing government and social safety net programs, making racist comments and setting Maine back in the fight against climate change, in addition to an unclear stance on the issue of abortion, which the majority of Mainers support.
Mills, who was first elected in 2019, received 55.7% of the vote, while LePage, who served as Maine’s governor from 2011 to 2019, garnered 42.4%. Independent candidate Sam Hunkler got 1.9% of the vote.
During the campaign, opponents latched onto LePage’s Florida residency to question his commitment to Maine. This was fueled by reporting by the New York Times that found that from 2009 to 2015 and from 2018 through the end of 2022, LePage and his wife got property tax exemptions in Florida meant for permanent residents.
The Times found that LePage claimed to be a Florida resident as early as March 2018 — when he was still governor of Maine.