AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A spokesman has blamed "petty partisan politicians" for Republican Gov. Paul LePage's decision to withdraw his nominations for individuals to state boards and commissions.

The governor said he was withdrawing 16 nominations in letters he sent Thursday to Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon. LePage's senior policy advisor Michael Beardsley told a legislative panel Thursday that committees will not hold hearings scheduled on the governor's nominations.

LePage spokesman Peter Steele said that the governor works hard to nominate qualified candidates.

"But if petty partisan politicians are going to punish highly qualified people for volunteering to serve the State of Maine, then the Governor will withdraw them," Steele said. "It is unconscionable for legislators to put good people through that kind of grueling process, all for nothing."

Gideon's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement came a day after a legislative panel opposed LePage's nomination of a former senior policy adviser to the board of the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Lawmakers on Wednesday questioned deputy transportation commissioner Jonathan Nass' stance on merging the turnpike authority with the transportation department, the Bangor Daily News reported . The governor supports such a change.

Rep. Andrew McLean, the committee's Democratic co-chair, told the newspaper that LePage was trying to "stack the deck" in state government before he leaves office next year.