Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage made it crystal clear on Friday that's he's ready to return to public office.
Asked in an interview with NewsRadio WGAN in Maine if he has plans to seek a third term as governor, LePage said "yes I do. Unequivocally. If I'm breathing, I'm running."
Term-limited after two four-year terms in office, from 2011 to 2019, LePage moved to Florida last year after being succeeded by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. In Maine, a governor can serve an unlimited number of terms, but only two in a row.
The outspoken politician whose controversial comments continuously made headlines during his eight years in office, has for months been mulling a 2022 run.
The new comments by the former governor are even stronger than his firm hints earlier this year.
In February, in an interview with local TV station WAGM, LePage answered yes when asked if he was considering running in 2022 for a third term as governor.
And in an appearance in April on popular conservative talk radio host Howie Carr’s show, LePage declared he would “challenge Janet Mills or the Democratic Party in 2022.”
LePage moved back to Maine this past summer, reestablishing residency in the state.
Vice President Mike Pence, campaigning in Maine last month ahead of the presidential election, praised LePage.
“Join me in thanking your incredible former governor, Paul LePage,” Pence said at a rally in Hermon, Maine.
“I’ll tell you what. He was one of my favorite governors in America, and he just might be again,” Pence said, as he hinted toward's LePage's future plans.
LePage didn’t always see eye to eye with GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine during his eight years as governor. But at last month’s rally with Pence, LePage encouraged the crowd to vote for Collins, despite President Trump’s criticism of the moderate Republican senator.
“We need Senator Collins back in Washington,” LePage told the crowd. “I’ve had so many folks tell me ‘Oh, it’s over for her.’ It’s not over for her. We need the Senate to help President Trump run the country.”
Collins, who was fighting for her political life against Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, ended up defeating the state House speaker – who was favored to oust the longtime GOP senator.
“LePage was very, very helpful to Sen. Collins. LePage understood the importance of holding the Senate and he was there for the senator in any way and every way that he could be,” Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage told Fox News.
While it’s not an indication of LePage’s intentions, the Maine GOP for more than a year and a half has been selling yard signs with LePage’s photo and the caption “Miss Me Yet?”
Mills, the first-term Democratic governor, has not indicated whether she’ll run for reelection in 2022.
If LePage formally announces a run for a third term, he would likely clear the field on the Republican side.
“Anybody who runs against him in a primary in Maine is absolutely foolish,” said a Maine based Republican consultant who asked for anonymity to speak more freely. “The nomination is his and I can’t imagine that there would be a candidate out there that would even crack 10% against him.”