Crown Politics

LePage renews feud with Janet Mills by ripping her campaign’s first TV ad

Good morning from Augusta, where sniping in the primary race for governor is in full effect.

A years-long political fight between two of Maine’s top officials shifted to the airwaves. On Wednesday, Gov. Paul LePage used his radio address to attack Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills for a new campaign advertisement that attempts to demonstrate how Mills has stood up to LePage on a variety of issues, including an attempt to take Medicaid away from “thousands of kids.”

That’s where LePage cries foul, taking umbrage with the use of the word “kids” and the ad’s use of a picture of a young girl over the words “keeping them covered.”

The issue referenced by Mills involves the LePage’s administration’s 2014 attempt to amend its state Medicaid plan and boot low-income 19- and 20-year-olds off coverage they have been receiving since the state expanded its Medicaid program in the 1990s. The courts ruled against LePage consistently, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the case in June of 2015.

“Janet Mills is not telling the truth,” said LePage in the radio address. “Despite what Mills says, these are not school children.”

In response to questions from the BDN, Mills responded that the state included this group of “very low income non-college young people” in Medicaid’s “children” program, which she said is a technical designation.

“They are considered children under the law and by many people in society,” Mills said. “And he certainly did try to boot them and I intervened in the lawsuit and opposed him after telling him what the law was.”

LePage could have electoral motivations here. The past feuds between LePage and Mills are well-documented and Democrats running for governor are largely campaigning against the governor and his legacy. But Mills is the front-runner in the primary field right now, so LePage may be trying to take her down a peg.

The Fiddlehead Focus/St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “LePage renews feud with Janet Mills by ripping her campaign’s first TV ad,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Christopher Cousins, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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