For local Angus King look-alike, mixups are routine
If former Gov. Angus King ever needs a stand-in double along his Senate campaign trail, John Laban of Bethel is probably his man.
The graying-blond, mustachioed Laban said that since King became governor in 1995, people have mistaken him for the politician dozens of times.
Last Wednesday when King, now running for the U.S. Senate, came to Bethel on a motorcycle tour on his Harley-Davidson, Laban went to the Mahoosuc Realty parking lot where King stopped in order to meet him.
“I was standing in line, and this guy was off to the side watching the proceedings,” Laban said Friday. “But it was obvious he had some sort of campaign affiliation. He found out my name, and said, ‘John, come over here for a minute. I want you to meet the governor.’ I circumvented three or four people standing in line at the behest of this person.”
It wasn’t the first time lookalike Laban jumped a line.
When King was governor, Laban went to Portland to eat at Walters Restaurant.
“I didn’t even say anything except, ‘for two,’" said Laban. "The guy said, ‘Yes, sir, come right with me, sir.’ Right by 10 or 15 people who were standing in line. He took us upstairs to a table next to a window. Nothing was said, but it was obvious to me what was happening.”
Asked if he straightened out the case of mistaken identity, Laban said, “No, I did not. I just grinned.”
Then there was the argument with a woman in Augusta.
“I was standing in front of Mainely Bagels,” recalls Laban. “She said, ‘You are …’ I said, 'No, I’m not,’ knowing what she was going to say. She said, ‘Yes, you are.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ She said, ‘Yes, you are. You can’t fool me.’”
How often do people make the mistake, or at least mention the resemblance?
“It’s got to be approaching 75 to 100 times,” Laban said. “People will say, ‘Do you know you look like …’ and I say, ‘Yes, I do.’”
Laban said he mentioned the restaurant incident to King when they met. “He laughed,” said Laban.
In addition, said Laban, “I told him I ride a motorcycle, too, but it’s a BMW. He said, ‘My first motorcycle was a BMW.’”
Laban’s wife, Rosemary, took a photo of the two men together, and Laban’s daughter then posted it on Facebook, prompting comments such as “They look like twins,” and “Get DNA testing.”
Laban’s theory on the resemblance: “It’s got to be the Scotch Highland heritage. I know I’ve got Scottish Highland blood in me, and I think he does too.”
Despite the possibility of even more attention should King get elected to the Senate, Laban supports him.
“I think he’d make a good replacement for Olympia,” he said.