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Maine Gov. LePage Cancels Senator's Swearing-In Over Spat With Democrats

No one told the newly-elected senator, who had already driven 72 miles with her family to the state capital for the ceremony.
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Maine's governor pulled a political April Fool's joke on a newly-elected lawmaker by cancelling her swearing-in ceremony Friday — after she and her family had already driven 72 miles to the state capital.

The reason? Gov. Paul LePage was seeking payback for the Democrats rejecting his pick for the unemployment insurance commission on Thursday.

"If this is his idea of an April Fool's joke, it is not funny," Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said in a statement.

Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the tough-talking Republican governor, admitted her boss cancelled Susan Deschambault's ceremony because her party voted down the nomination of Steven Webster, a former cop who is a fixture on conservative talk radio in Maine. She said Webster was treated "despicably," according to NECN.

Related: Maine Gov. LePage Calls for Use of Guillotine for Drug Traffickers

Bennett did not respond to an email from NBC News asking if anybody tried to alert Deschambault before she made the trek north to Augusta.

Deschambault, who lives in Biddeford, had no idea the event was cancelled until after she arrived at 9 a.m. with her brood at the governor's office at the Statehouse in Augusta, Maine.

"She was contacted by the governor's office yesterday that she would be sworn-in today," said Jeremy Kennedy, executive director of the Maine Democratic Party.

Bartlett blasted LePage. "Once again, the Governor decides to throw a temper tantrum and refuse to do his job because he did not get his way," he said in a statement.

Deschambault won a special election Tuesday to serve out the rest of the term of former state Sen. David Dutremble, another Biddeford Democrat who resigned the seat in January.

Related: Maine Gov. Paul LePage Has History of Controversial Remarks

Under Maine law, LePage has five days to certify an election.

LePage, a Tea Party favorite, is better known on the national stage for making remarks that have been ripped as racist at worst and insensitive at best.

In January, LePage apologized for saying that out-of-state drug dealers come to Maine to peddle heroin and impregnate "white girls."

LaPage also lambasted the journalists who reported his gaffe.

"If I was perfect, I would be a reporter," he said. "If you want to make it racist, go ahead and do what you want."