GOP changes leadership in Maine after poor election showing

Maine State House
Maine State House(WABI)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 12:29 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former Assistant House Minority Leader Joel Stetkis was elected to serve as Maine Republican Party chair, marking a change in direction after a disappointing midterm election for the GOP.

Former chair Demi Kouzounas was ousted during a closed-door meeting over the weekend.

“This is a new day for Maine Republicans,” Stetkis, of Canaan, said in a statement. “Electing waves of Republicans at the local level and growing our party with an eye to the future begins now.”

Stetkis, who represented House District 105 from 2014 to 2022, won with 83 votes to 57 for Kouzounas.

The change in leadership comes after former Republican Gov. Paul LePage was handily defeated in the governor’s race, and Republicans failed to flip either legislative chamber.

Stetkis said his “primary objective” will be to put the brakes on current Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ agenda and adopt “commonsense conservative policy.”

Democrats attacked Stetkis as extreme, accusing him of posting falsehoods about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and spreading misinformation during the pandemic.