Paul LePage (Credit: YouTube)

Maine's GOP governor mocks public campaign financing: It's "like giving your wife your checkbook"

Paul LePage also called the ballot initiative to create transparency in elections "a scam"

Scott Eric Kaufman
October 22, 2015 9:39PM (UTC)

Maine's controversial Governor Paul LePage attacked a citizen-led ballot initiative that would lead to more transparent elections by allowing limited public financing for qualified candidates as the equivalent of "giving your wife your checkbook."

Question 1, as the ballot initiative is officially called, would allow candidates being egregiously outspent by their competitors to seek additional public financing for their campaigns, thereby bringing actual election practices in the state in line with the guidelines set out in the state's Clean Elections Act.


"If [Question 1] passes, wow, you’re the most gullible population in the state,” LePage said during a town-hall meeting Wednesday. "This is a scam. It does absolutely nothing to get big money out of this."

According to LePage, it's "like giving my wife my checkbook. I'm telling you, it's giving your wife your checkbook." Putting aside the obvious fact that in many marriages, wives possess their own checkbooks, LePage's statement is outrageous because the Clean Elections Act has been particularly beneficial to female candidates. A 2003 survey of female candidates found that the 42 percent would not have been able to run for office had it not been for the Act.

Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women’s Lobby, told the Maine Beacon that "the governor’s attitude toward women, toward relationships and toward money are so dated as to be bizarre. The Maine Women’s Lobby supports Question 1 because we know that a legislature made up of Mainers with a variety of backgrounds and experiences will make better decisions for all of us."


Watch LePage's comment below via YouTube.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Campaign Finance Reform Clean Elections Act Feminism Maine Paul Lepage

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