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Maine governor considering a run for Congress

Also apologizes for recent crude, critical remarks

Governor Paul LePage of Maine has not confirmed any future political plans.

Pat Wellenbach/Associated Press

Governor Paul LePage of Maine has not confirmed any future political plans.

PORTLAND, Maine — Governor Paul LePage said Friday he is considering running for Congress in 2014, instead of seeking a second term as Maine’s governor.

LePage, a Republican, told reporters that he may run for the Second Congressional District seat now held by Representative Mike Michaud, a Democrat. Michaud, who is in his sixth term in Congress, announced last week that he has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run for governor against LePage.

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When asked outside his State House office whether he thought crude comments he made Thursday about a Democratic legislator would hurt him in the 2014 gubernatorial election, LePage responded, ‘‘Who said I’m running?’’

He went on to say that he was considering a run for Michaud’s seat ‘‘because it can’t be any worse in Washington than it is here.’’

‘‘Everything’s on the table,’’ he said. ‘‘Retirement, Social Security, running for Congress, maybe going back to Marden’s to stock shelves, I don’t know. I don’t take myself as seriously as all you do.’’ LePage was general manager of Marden’s surplus and salvage store chain before becoming governor.

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Brent Littlefield, LePage’s senior political adviser, declined to say if LePage was serious about a run for Congress.

The governor, he said, is ‘‘tired of political games and constant political questions from reporters. He’s focused on . . . the next generation, not the next election.

LePage’s comment that he might not seek reelection comes as the potential lineup of major candidates has begun taking shape for the 2014 governor’s race.

LePage has filed papers and begun raising money, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush is headlining a fund-raising event for him July 2 at a hotel in Kennebunkport.

Michaud has begun raising money for a possible campaign, and independent Eliot Cutler is planning to run. Cutler narrowly lost to LePage in 2010.

Brian Duff, a University of New England political science professor, said he doesn’t think LePage could win the Second Congressional District if he ran against a moderate Democrat.

‘‘He’s just too far to the right,’’ he said. ‘‘He might make it competitive; he might get 45, 46, 47 percent. But I’d be very surprised to see LePage take fire in a congressional race.’’

Also on Friday, LePage apologized to Maine loggers for critical comments aimed at state Senator Troy Jackson, who is a logger, and for the sexually vulgar phrase he used when expressing frustration with the state budget, which he plans to veto. But he is not apologizing to Jackson.

Lepage said his remark was intended to stress the fact that legislators are raising taxes.

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