Before there was Trump, there was Paul LePage

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is welcomed to the stage by Maine Gov. Paul LePage at campaign stop in Portland, Maine (March 3, 2016/AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty).

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Before there was Donald Trump, there was Paul LePage, a brash businessman with a blunt style who bonded with blue-collar workers in an economically lagging state that had been a reliable bastion of Democrats and moderate Republicans.

The two-term governor of Maine even takes credit for providing a template, saying he and Trump are cut from “the same cloth.” LePage has endorsed Trump’s bid now that his first choice, Chris Christie, has left the race.

In many ways, Maine represents just the kind of state where Trump has resonated. A Democratic strategist, Mike Cuzzi, says his rural state is suffering through the process of post-industrialism and that many people are angry with both political parties.

The Maine GOP caucuses on Saturday coincide with Republican voting in Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana.

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