Just before 11 pm last night, Paul LePage took to the podium at Champions in Waterville. His supporters, who had been milling around, munching on taquitos, guacamole, cheese, and crackers, and fruit (while sipping from a full cash bar), were thrilled to see him. They were nervous. Early returns were showing a much closer-than-expected race between LePage and Cutler.
Pete "the Carpenter" Harring -- who had called a press conference the week before to distance Maine Tea Partiers from any particular candidate(s), to reiterate that Tea Partiers do not make endorsements -- was introduced. He led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Hmmm. Seems like a close affliation to me...
Then LePage got back on stage.
"At the end of the night, we're going home winners," he reassured the crowd, acknowledging that he was, at that point, about 1200 votes behind Cutler -- but that votes from rural, Western, and Northern Maine had yet to be counted. He also claimed that his supporters, who "have to work a couple of jobs to make ends meet," had probably gotten to the polls at the last minute.
"I feel it in my heart that by tomorrow morning I will be your governor," he said.
He was right.