It is not a good week for Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro. The Maine Republican is facing a recall vote, just a month after taunting Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg on Twitter.
On Thursday, municipal officials certified that residents seeking to oust Isgro had a total of 887 valid signatures, forcing a recall election on June 12.
In a statement to the Morning Sentinel, the petitioners behind the recall effort said: "[Isgro] has failed to show leadership, accept responsibility for his actions, and has contributed to the divisiveness in our community. We believe that the people of Waterville want this city and its residents to be seen as a place where everyone feels safe and welcome."
Isgro made national headlines in early March after quote tweeting an article about Fox News' co-president Jack Abernethy showing support for the network's host Laura Ingraham amid several major advertisers dropping her after she made fun of Hogg, then 17, for getting college rejection letters.
"Eat it, Hogg," the mayor said in the since-deleted tweet. He had previously posted his support for Ingraham, writing: "If you believe in attacking people’s livelihood because you don’t like their words, you don’t believe in a free society. You believe in a totalitarian marxist system of one party enforced beliefs. It also means you know your own message can’t stand up under scrutiny."
Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro is the second Maine Republican to attack a teenager who just survived the unimaginable. We should be looking to these courageous, inspiring young people as examples — not lashing out at them for standing up for what they believe in. #mepolitics pic.twitter.com/4iHElCjHvv— Maine Democrats (@MaineDems) April 4, 2018
Isgro was not the first Maine Republican politician to mock one of the Parkland teens on social media. In March, GOP candidate Leslie Gibson called activist Emma González a "skinhead lesbian" and said she wasn't a "real survivor." He was running uncontested for a state House seat, but he dropped out of the race after Democrat Eryn Gilchrist, 28, stepped in to challenge him.
Back in Waterville, Isgro pushed back against the recall campaign.
“It appears that outside special interest groups spending thousands of dollars — while colluding with well-connected political elites and the local press — allegedly turned in enough signatures to have a vote to repeal our accomplishments and repeal local control of Our City,” the two-term mayor wrote on Facebook, adding that his team will verify the accuracy of the petition.
He also said the recall effort was not about a "three word, promptly-deleted comment on social media."
But his social media history was problematic, long before his tweet about Hogg: He has defended accused child molester Roy Moore, used an alt-right epithet to rant against an anti-sexual harassment bill, and attacked everyone from Pope Francis to Maine's Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
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