Shane Bouchard, the former mayor of Lewiston, Maine, resigned after racist text messages were leaked by his mistress who helped him win the seat by leaking emails of his opponent, for whom she was working.

The text message exchange includes calling African Americans “antique farm equipment.”

“All my jokes are quite racist lol,” he said before adding, “What do you call 2 old Black people sitting on your front lawn.”

“Antique farm equipment,” he answered.

The joke was not well-received by Heather Everly Berube, who, two months after this exchange, assisted Bouchard's campaign by leaking emails of his Democratic challenger, Ben Chin, including one in which Chin said that he’d encountered “a bunch of racists” while campaigning.

“I have no idea why I gave them to him when I did,” she said in a wide-ranging interview on the incident with the Lewiston Sun Journal. “I think that there was one email that really upset me about Ben (Chin) talking bad about the other candidates. And I sent that to him. After I sent one, just domino effect.”

Bouchard had attempted to defend the messages, stating that context mattered, and he was clearly joking.

“If you looked at the message, she was pushing me to just tell her any kind of joke and, I don’t know, I just, it came out,” he said. “It is tasteless and it is in no way a reflection of how I feel.”

Bouchard is not alone in Maine's history of racist comments. Former Governor Paul LePage had a history of racist comments, including saying that Black drug dealers were coming to Maine and would “impregnate a young, white girl before they left.”

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