President Trump Wants Governor LePage To Challenge Senate Seat

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WASHINGTON, DC (WMTW) President Donald Trump is encouraging Gov. Paul LePage, R-Maine, to run for Sen. Angus King’s Senate seat in 2018, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

King is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. He is seeking re-election.

“White House officials have been in touch with LePage’s political team in recent weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly,” the Post reported. ”LePage’s name came up again Tuesday at a White House meeting on Senate candidates, the officials said, as Trump and his team went through a list of states and races — including Arizona, Missouri and Maine — looking at individual candidates and poll numbers.”

LePage, who is in his second term as governor, cannot seek a third term due to term limits. He had said previously that he has no interest in running.

"If I run for U.S Senate, I will be a single man," LePage said last month.

Last month, Maine first lady Ann LePage said former Trump chief strategist Stephen Bannon had lobbied her to run for King’s Senate seat.

LePage said his wife had no interest in running.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Androscoggin, who is running against King, released a statement about the Post’s report.

"Our campaign continues working hard and we are quickly gaining momentum,” he wrote. “Governor LePage has said on several occasions that he has no plans to run for U.S. Senate and I take him at his word. Together, the Governor and I have already endorsed a candidate to replace me in the Maine Senate. I am not distracted by Washington gossip. Instead, I'm spreading my ‘Liberty for the Little Guy’ message as I continue meeting with Maine people.”

LePage has not commented on the Post's report.