AUGUSTA – The Maine Republican Party learned Wednesday that it will be without its star player, Gov. Paul LePage, for 4-6 weeks due to a sore veto finger, sources confirmed.
LePage will be placed on the Disabled List retroactive to April 14, and hopes to return to action in time for the legislature’s next session May 15.
“This is a huge blow to our franchise, as obviously Paul has a key role in what we’re trying to do offensively,” said Blaine House spokeshuman Adrienne Bennett. “But if we all do our jobs well we can hold down the fort until he’s ready to go again.”
Sources say LePage first noticed discomfort in his veto finger in late March, when he rejected a bill to tighten foreclosure regulations for homeowners.
He reportedly aggravated the injury April 14, when he executed an awkward and seldom-used line-item veto to erase some general assistance and medicaid funding from the state budget.
“It was a bold play, but obviously it’s costing him in the long run,” said one state government scout. “As he gets older, he’ll begin to recognize that some of the aggressiveness that gains him a temporary advantage on the field is not worth shortening his career.”
LePage decided to play through the pain, using the finger to strike down 391 more bills, including one that would have increased deed registry fees, one that would have prohibited circuses from exploiting child labor and abusing animals, and 28 that happened to mention the words “taxes” and “business” somewhere in the text.
An MRI showed mild structural damage in the finger, but the G.O.P. hopes he will be able to avoid surgery by resting the finger for a couple of weeks and then slowly building the strength back into it by wagging it a few minutes a day at welfare moms.