"They come here and they can buy everything, but the one thing they can't buy is native status. We hold it over them, and it drives them nuts," he joked.
When it comes to politics, Maine likes its hometown heroes, as well.
Muskie was a senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate. Mitchell was Senate leader and peace envoy. Smith, too, gained prominence through her "Declaration of Conscience" attacking McCarthyism. Snowe has been a popular centrist.
As for being from away, King proved that it doesn't have to be a political liability. He was only the second Maine governor from outside New England and only the third from away in the past 125 years, Mills said.
But he doesn't pretend to be a native.
He recalls, as a proud new father, excitedly telling a Maine farmer that his newly arrived firstborn son would be a Mainer. The farmer put him in his place. "He looked over his glasses and said, 'Just because a cat has her kittens in the oven don't make them biscuits.'"
Follow David Sharp on Twitter at http://twitter.com/David_Sharp_AP
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.