PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Republican Gov. Paul LePage said of one of his harshest critics needs to be put on a "suicide watch" because he's going to win his re-election bid.
LePage made the remark about Bill Nemitz, a newspaper columnist for the Portland Press Herald, on Monday evening during a rally with Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Portland.
LePage asked for a volunteer from the audience to keep an eye on the columnist.
"I want to put Bill Nemitz on a suicide watch," he said to laughter and cheers from the audience. "We've got to make sure that for the next 24 hours that he doesn't go anywhere near the new Bucksport bridge."
Christie described LePage as a governor who speaks his mind and "who wears his heart on his sleeve."
"You know, every once in a while, my friend Paul LePage may say things in a way that are rather direct," he said.
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant condemned LePage's remark on suicide as "distasteful and inappropriate."
"Governor LePage reminded us why he does not deserve another four years in office," Grant said. "Even on the eve of Election Day, he continues to embarrass the people of Maine and prove he is not worthy to represent the people of our state."
Nemitz, who has been known for attacking the governor, tweeted a reply afterward: "Suicide watch? As if! Don't flatter yourself."
LePage is in a tight fight with Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for the governor's office, and independent candidate Eliot Cutler trails them.