Stephen King fans are hoping they can get the author of the clown horror story It and 53 other novels to consider running for political office.
Among them are the state's most recent former governor, two-term Democrat John Baldacci, who told the Washington Examiner, "Stephen would win any office he decided to run for in Maine."
"I would be out there handing out fliers and putting on bumper stickers for him," said Baldacci, who left office after eight years in 2011. "He's been a big asset for the state of Maine and for a lot of people who look for common sense in the wilderness."
There are clear opportunities in Democratic-leaning Maine. The pugnacious Republican Gov. Paul LePage, an ardent Trump supporter, is term-limited and will be replaced in an election next year while centrist GOP Sen. Susan Collins is up for re-election in 2020.
King, a Democrat, has been active in the political debate this year, often challenging the policies of President Trump and the Republican Party. Trump blocked him on Twitter in June, and the author has repeatedly called for his removal from office.
"If any other prez had done half the things Trump has done...a third...a fucking TENTH...he'd be gone like Enron. What's happened to us?" King said in a July tweet.
After Trump blamed "both sides" for violence in August between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., he tweeted, "Trump must be removed. Republicans, stand up to this obscene man."
King has been the target of sporadic recruitment efforts of varying seriousness for years.
"Please run for Governor," a fan tweeted at him last week, responding to his most recent criticism of Trump on immigration and North Korea.
"@StephenKing - we need u 2 run 4 the Blaine House! Only YOU understand the Horror Show that is our current governor!" another person tweeted, referring to the Maine governor's mansion. Last year, King called LePage "a bigot, a homophobe and a racist."
Some prominent Democrats are reluctant to discuss a theoretical candidacy, however, noting King has shot down attempts to recruit him to run for governor in the past, saying in 2015 "if nominated I will not run, and if elected, I will not serve."
James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who is friendly with King, declined to speculate on whether the author would seek office. He said they had not discussed the possibility, but King "has my number" if he is interested.
The state Republican Party, meanwhile, humorously brushed off a possible King candidacy with "It" movie puns.
"We have to assume this is just some people clowning around, putting some trial balloons out for attention for liberal Mr. King," said Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage. "Mr. King's rabid fan base might like this rumor, but Mr. King's election would be a hard case given his very liberal positions."
King did not immediately respond to an interview request. But Jordan Hahn, webmaster of StephenKing.com, pointed to his 2015 quote expressing no interest in political office and said, "Stephen is still of that mindset."
Marsha DeFilippo, King's assistant, said in an email that "Stephen does not have any plans to run for public office."
Still, Baldacci — also a Bangor native — said if he changes his mind, there's a clear path to victory, describing little-known acts of charity and saying the state appreciates straight talk.
"You've got somebody who's not beholden to financial interests, someone who's an independent thinker, somebody's who's all about Maine — I think you've got a winner there," he said. "He's authentic, he's not a phony and you've got to appreciate the honesty he brings to the debate."