MAINE, USA — Maine Gov. Janet Mills officially launched her campaign for re-election on Tuesday with announcements on social media that included a video.
"We have accomplished so much, but I'm running for re-election because there's so much left to do. It's time to invest in you, the people of Maine. You are what moves us forward, what makes us strong," the incumbent said in the video.
Mills, a Democrat, is planning to submit her signature petitions to get her name on the ballot later this week.
"Since taking office in 2019, the governor has taken on the biggest challenges facing Maine people and delivered the progress that Maine people deserve," Maine Democratic Party Chair Drew Gattine said in a statement of support. "She has expanded access to health care, prepared our state for the climate crisis, and invested in our public schools, our infrastructure, our businesses, and our children. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, she led one of the most effective pandemic responses in the nation."
The Republican Governors Association spokesperson Will Reiner also responded with a statement.
“Janet Mills saw the costly mistakes Joe Biden made in Washington and then doubled down on her own dangerous policies to make life even harder for Mainers," the statement read. "From signing into law a grocery tax to a proposal to make the cost of filling up the gas tank even more expensive, it’s clear families and seniors cannot afford another four years of Gov. Mills.”
The gubernatorial race is expected to be very contentious as former republican governor Paul LePage has returned to Maine to face off against Mills.
Mills' Republican opponent, former Gov. Paul LePage, submitted his signatures to the Secretary of State's Office in early February after announcing his plans to run in July.
Below is the video that was part of the announcement
In an exclusive interview with NEWS CENTER Maine, LePage said he is a "changed" man since leaving office.
"The big change in me has been the last four years watching what's going on in the country," he said. "I am absolutely convinced that if we continue to hate each other if we don't find a path to at least like each other and respect each other, our country is in for doom."
Despite a massive state budget surplus, LePage took aim at Mills over her handling of the pandemic and the impact on the economy.
He called Mills' plan to send out half of the state's $822 million surplus back to taxpayers "a massive mistake."
LePage instead said the money should provide a permanent tax cut.
The governor's office responded saying a permanent tax cut with a short-lived surplus could potentially lead to scenarios of cutting spending or raising taxes down the road when the state no longer has a surplus.
The pandemic will likely be a big topic of the heated race between Mills and LePage.
Mills has already defended her decisions to curb the spread of COVID-19 because of republican backlash.
“Last year’s emergency measures no longer serve the purposes they once did, nor should they," Mills said at her State of the State address last month. "As science and trends evolve, our response evolves as well. Today, we focus not on telling people what they cannot do. We focus on telling people what they can and should do."