Maine gov. LePage cancels senator's swearing-in over spat with Democrats

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A Short History of Gov. LePage's Controversial Comments

Maine's governor pulled a political April Fool's joke on a newly-elected lawmaker by canceling 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.

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Maine gov. LePage cancels senator's swearing-in over spat with Democrats
Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks before introducing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at campaign stop, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Portland, Maine.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
MEXICO, ME - MARCH 22: Gov. Paul LePage holds a town hall-style meeting in Mexico, Maine. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) after LePage introduced him at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Joel Page
PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 8: Gov. Paul LePage signals that he is done with answering questions during a 'town hall' session at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 8: Gov. Paul LePage brings his town hall tour to Portland, speaking at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 8: Gov. Paul LePage brings his town hall tour to Portland, speaking at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 8: Gov. Paul LePage brings his town hall tour to Portland, speaking at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. An audience member holds up a sign as Gov. LePage leaves the room. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
LEWISTON, ME - OCTOBER 13: Gov. Paul LePage waved goodbye to the audience after holding a town hall style forum at the Regional Technical Center at Lewiston High School Tuesday, October 13, 2015. The Governor addressed issues of education, minimum wage, gun control, and more. (Photo by Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
SACO, ME - SEPTEMBER 19: Governor Paul LePage cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the Riverwalk bridge dedication ceremony in Saco, ME on Saturday, September 19, 2015. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PORTLAND - JUNE 3: Governor Paul LePage speaks about a grant from the Maine Department of Corrections to fund the Building Alternatives program at Learning Works. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, ME - JANUARY 7: At the end of his inauguration speech, Gov. Paul LePage waves to the crowd at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, ME - JANUARY 7: Sen. Pres. Michael Thibodeau administers the oath of office to Gov. Paul LePage while First Lady Ann LePage looks on during his inauguration at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, ME - JANUARY 7: After taking the stage, Gov. Paul LePage acknowledges cheers from the crowd during his inauguration at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
LEWISTON, ME - NOVEMBER 5: Maine Governor Paul LePage speaks to supporters at the Franco American Heritage Center after being reelected on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
AUBURN, ME - OCTOBER 21: Gov. Paul LePage talks with Jim Wellehan of Auburn in the lobby of WMTW television in Auburn, Tuesday, October 21, 2014, following the final of six gubernatorial debates. (Photo by Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, ME - OCTOBER 15: Current Maine governor Paul LePage before the Maine State Chamber's Gubernatorial Forum at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, ME on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, ME - July 15: Maine Governor Paul LePage in his office at the State House in Augusta. (Photo by John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
GRAY, ME - JUNE 3: Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a Storey Brothers Excavating site in Gray on Tuesday. Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Maine Governor Paul LePage delivers his State of the State Address in the House Chambers at the State House in Augusta on Tuesday February 4, 2014. (Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
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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."

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