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Maine governor says will not resign, to seek spiritual advice

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FILE PHOTO -- Maine Governor Paul LePage speaks at the 23rd Annual Energy Trade and Technology Conference in Boston, Massachusetts November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl/File Photo

reutersMaine Governor Paul LePage said on Wednesday he will not resign but is seeking spiritual advice on his future after unleashing an obscenity-laden voicemail message on a political rival, as state lawmakers kept the pressure on the Republican to step down.

The two-term, famously combative governor apologized for the second day in a row to the people of Maine and to state Representative Drew Gattine after calling the Democrat a “little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker” in a voicemail message last week that has been widely circulated.

“I will not resign,” LePage told reporters in his office in the state capital of Augusta, the day after he openly discussed the possibility of resigning in a radio appearance.

“Comments I have expressed recently are unacceptable and I apologize sincerely for using such disrespectful language as your governor,” LePage said.

LePage, whose term extends through 2018, said in a statement he would “take several actions” but did not make clear what he intended. He also said “he and his family will be seeking spiritual guidance as they move forward in finding closure themselves.”

The president of Maine’s state Senate, also a Republican, on Wednesday called on LePage to “do the right thing” after more than a week in which he dominated headlines for the threatening message as well as for repeated assertions that minority people from out of state were primarily responsible for Maine’s heroin epidemic.

A crowd of several hundred people demonstrated outside the governor’s mansion in Augusta late Tuesday, calling for his resignation, according to local media.

Lawmakers in both parties are mulling whether to call a special session to take disciplinary action against LePage, who lashed out at Gattine because the governor believed he had been called a racist.

“The Republican senate caucus has clearly stated that we need an acceptable plan for corrective action before the determination of whether the Legislature should convene is made,” state Senate Majority Leader Michael Thibodeau said in a statement. “We implore the governor to do the right thing.”

Thibodeau would take over as governor if LePage stepped down.

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