Stephen King for governor: Horror story or best seller?

Maine resident and best-selling author Stephen King. Photo by Ashley Conti/Bangor Daily News

Maine resident and best-selling author Stephen King. Photo by Ashley L. Conti/Bangor Daily News

Stephen King has been all over the news in the past week, not for his latest best-selling novel, but because of his stand against Gov. Paul LePage over inaccurate statements LePage made about King in the original version of his weekly radio address.

Now there are a couple of well-known Mainers trying to prod King into a run for governor. What’s the Master of Horror think? He says he’s not interested. But then again we’re a long way from 2018.

This isn’t the first time Maine’s most well-known resident has inserted himself into the state’s political discourse. Remember last year when he endorsed Shenna Bellows over Susan Collins in the U.S. Senate race? However, it might be the first time anyone has talked seriously about King being the state’s chief executive.

Enter Joe Baldacci, Bangor city counselor, friend of King and brother of former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci.

“I’ll be forming the Draft Stephen King for Governor campaign all those interested in helping out can get a hold of me at my office,” wrote Joe Baldacci on his Facebook page.

Seriously, Joe? Yup.

“I’d be very serious if Stephen gave it a nod,” he told the BDN on Monday. “People who know him know that he has an innate sense of intelligence that is lacking in a lot of our political leadership.”

Baldacci isn’t the only one who thinks King should launch a campaign. Democratic Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, on Monday launched a petition drive for the same purpose.

Seriously, Diane? Yup.

“I launched a petition today to draft Stephen King to run for governor because his vision for investing in education, first responders and infrastructure is precisely what Maine needs to create an economy that works for all of us,” she wrote in a statement to the BDN. “He knows what it’s like to be rich, but he sure as hell seems to remember what it was like growing up in Maine’s middle class.”

King running for governor — however likely or unlikely that may be — would answer a central question that has been swirling among Democrats since Mike Michaud’s loss for the race to the Blaine House in November: Who will be the their nominee in 2018? There aren’t a lot of names on that list of possibilities.

Does King have the credentials to be governor? Let’s not forget that California elected a Hollywood action hero for its governor and Minnesota, a professional wrestler.

“I think he has the qualifications without a doubt, particularly when you compare him against others who have occupied that office,” said Baldacci. “He’s a Mainer through and through and he knows this state. His mother is a single mother. He didn’t have the easiest upbringing. He’s earned everything that he’s got and he’s been giving back ever since.”

King did not respond to a call for comment, but his spokeswoman and sister-in-law, Stephanie Leonard, wrote the following on Baldacci’s Facebook post:

“Just guessing but I’m pretty sure he’ll the decline the honor!” she wrote. “He would make a good speechwriter though.”

Seriously, Stephanie?


UPDATE (7:40 p.m., 03/23/15): King responded in writing Monday evening to questions posed by the BDN and said he is not interested in running for any public office.  “I have no political aspirations. I’ll continue to support candidates who want to speak for the middle class and working poor, particularly those candidates who support raising the minimum wage, but as for me, if nominated I will not run, and if elected, I will not serve. I think somebody famous said that.”

Yup. Two famous people, at least.



Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.