AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, submitted paperwork Tuesday to make official his run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat.
The news was something of a formality since Raye’s name has been out there for a long time as a GOP challenger to incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.
“I am encouraged by the excellent response and expressions of support I’ve received across the district, from Waldo County to the St. John Valley, and from Fryeburg to Eastport,” Raye said in a statement. “I look forward to running an issue-oriented campaign focused on making Congress work better for the American people, encouraging job creation and getting federal spending and debt under control. Everywhere I go, I hear enormous frustration with Washington.”
Raye has been in the Maine Senate since 2005 and was named Senate president after the 2010 elections when Republicans took control of the House and Senate.
He ran for the 2nd District in 2002, when Michaud was first elected, and lost by about 10,000 votes. Since then, the Democrat has been re-elected four times.
Greg Olson, Michaud’s campaign manager, released a statement about Raye’s candidacy.
“Congressman Michaud takes all elections seriously and this one will be no different. Mike’s as frustrated with Congress as many Mainers are right now,” Olson said. “To make Congress at least get their basic work accomplished, he’s pushing a bill to make sure members of Congress don’t get paid unless they pass a budget and appropriations bills on time.
“Come the fall, we believe that Mike’s record of delivering results for veterans, investing in Maine’s economy and opposing unfair trade deals will resonate with Mainers. In the meantime, Mike is focused on doing the job he was elected to do.”
It’s not clear whether Raye will face a primary challenge in June. No other Republicans have declared for the 2nd District. Similarly, Michaud is so far unopposed on the Democratic side.
Raye outlined some of his priorities in his official announcement.
“Poll after poll shows that Mainers feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. In Congress, I will work to move America in a new direction, away from explosive federal spending and a heavy-handed health care law that raises taxes on small business and cuts Medicare for seniors,” he said. “We need to encourage job creation, rein in runaway debt that threatens future generations and prioritize spending in a way that protects national security and cares for the truly needy.”
Raye also pledged to run an issue-oriented campaign and said he would reject the use of negative attacks, although he is facing criticism already.
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said this week that Raye should disclose more information about his work with the K Street lobbying organization AdvaMed. In 2009 and 2010, Raye reportedly was paid as a consultant to advocate against the Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama.
“Mainers deserve to know more about Kevin Raye’s lobbying career,” Grant said. “We may have a part-time Legislature but we don’t have part-time ethics laws. Raye should disclose how much he was paid by AdvaMed and the full scope of his work for the organizations.”
Raye said he never lobbied but rather was hired to educate the public about a proposed tax.
“It was fully disclosed at the time,” he said. “I don’t know why Ben Grant is going back and talking about this now. This is exactly the kind of thing Maine people are tired of.”