LePage signals support for switch to presidential primary

Gov. Paul LePage added his name to the growing list of lawmakers who support moving Maine away from the presidential caucus system and toward a primary.

LePage said during a radio appearance on WVOM that moving to a primary would come with a cost to the state, but that the cost is worth it.

“I was absolutely amazed and happy and pleased and excited to see the turnout both on Saturday and Sunday,” said LePage. “Unfortunately some people just got discouraged and left and walked away. We cannot let that happen again.”

Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, launched a bill to return to a primary on Monday. The bill has already begun to gather support from both Republicans and Democrats.

“I urge that to happen because that is the right way to make sure that we do not disenfranchise Mainers,” said LePage. “It’s not a lot of money in relation to making sure people are involved in their government. To me, that’s a price worth paying.”

Alfond’s bill needs approval by the Legislative Council, which is a committee of five Democrat and five Republican legislative leaders, before it can begin the legislative process. If enacted, it would allow registered Maine Democrats, Republicans and Green Independents to hold presidential primaries in 2020.

Maine last held presidential primaries in 2000. Since then, the parties have held caucuses to allow members to demonstrate their support for potential presidential nominees.

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.