Ex-South Portland Mayor James Soule Likes To Zumba

I’ll admit, I’ve been a little too busy in the past couple days to continue the unquenchable obsession over the evolving Zumba-brothel fever that has consumed the entire state of Maine, so I actually missed the most recent release of the names of Johns who frequented the now notorious prostitution hub.

This evening, I logged into the back end Pine Tree Politics to check the traffic – a routine obsession for a regular blogger – and I noticed a very strange spike in traffic over the last couple days.  This was unusual, because I hadn’t written anything in about five days, and traffic doesn’t go up like that with inactivity.

Wondering what was going on, I went into the detailed analytic snapshot, and noticed that this post from three years ago – penned by then PTP writer Derek Viger – was the main driver of traffic.  I also noticed that most of the traffic came from Google searches, rather than the more typical Facebook/Twitter/BDN referrals, and immediately I said to myself, “dude likes to Zumba!”

Sure enough, after googling “James Soule Zumba” myself, there it was.

Soule is, of course, famous for his belief that southern Maine should separate itself politically from the north, and form its own independent state.  From Viger’s reporting at the time:

Soule served as mayor of South Portland in 2008.  During his inaugural address Soule shocked listeners by suggesting Southern Maine secede and form its own state.

Soule cited the long standing theory of the “Two Maines” as the basis for his suggestion.  Soule called the state government an “oppressive regime” that withholds rightful amounts of aid.  “The state of Maine needs South Portland more than South Portland needs the state of Maine,” said Soule.  Though some agreed with Soule’s sentiment that Southern Maine carried an unfair burden, the idea never gained any traction. Current South Portland Mayor Tom Blake defeated Soule for the position last November.

Soule is, at least so far, the most prominent name released on the so-called “Johns list”; the list of names of men who were clients of the alleged madam Alexis Wright at a Zumba dance studio which served as a brothel in southern Maine.

For his part, Soule (or at least his attorney) is trying to downplay his involvement with the brothel, with his lawyer issuing the following statement:

I have never in 40 years seen so much ado about so little, but that’s more I think a function of the times we live in than anything else. It’s a Class E misdemeanor, which never generates any jail time. It’s a fine.

For the record, I’ve seen a lot bigger deals made about much less significant things, but point taken.  You can count me among those who believe Soule’s activities, while slimy and gross and morally reprehensible, shouldn’t be illegal.

But, regardless of “should” or “should not”, it is currently a crime (albeit a legally minor one) and a prominent person committing a misdemeanor is pretty much always news, particularly when it involves the rather pathetic and sad reality of a man paying a stranger for sex.

There are still roughly 130 unreleased names on “the list”, and given the hype it has received, we are likely to see more recognizable names on the list, which is something I am sure Soule will be happy with.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the traffic boost.  Thanks for that, Mr. Soule.

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Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.