Paul R. LePage, the former two-term Republican governor of Maine, is planning to seek his old office again in 2022, announcing on Monday “I am in” despite having left the state for sunny Florida after his previous term ended and declaring himself done with politics.
Mr. LePage, 72, was succeeded as governor by a Democrat, Janet Mills, but the state’s term-limits law allows him to run for a third nonconsecutive term, which he has signaled his interest in for almost a year.
A Republican who shunned protocol and employed incendiary rhetoric before former President Donald J. Trump’s arrival on the political scene, Mr. LePage left office with a 40 percent approval rating.
He courted controversy from the very start of his administration. In 2011, he said he would skip events for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and told the N.A.A.C.P. to “kiss my butt.” That was just the first in a series of inflammatory remarks on race from Mr. LePage during his governorship.
With his challenge to Ms. Mills, the 2022 race would be the rare contest pitting two governors — one former and one current — against one another.
“We must work toward building a better future based on individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, and an economy which empowers everyone including our rural communities,” Mr. LePage said in a Facebook posting.
Maine has been a battleground state in national races, with Senator Susan Collins, a Republican, brushing off an expensive challenge in 2020 and both the Trump campaign and that of President Biden competing aggressively for one electoral vote in the state.
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