AUGUSTA, Maine — Former Senate President Kevin Raye, a Republican, is considering a run for Congress now that Democrat Mike Michaud, who currently holds the seat, is running for governor.
Raye, who lives in Washington County, made the announcement on his Facebook page and a page called Kevin Raye for Congress.
“With today’s announcement that Congressman Michaud will run for governor, I wanted to let you know that I am considering a run for Maine’s open 2nd Congressional District seat in 2014,” he said in the post. “I’ve heard from many of my fellow Mainers urging me to get into the race — and I wanted to be sure you know that [my wife] Karen and I are actively considering that possibility!”
He referenced his experience as former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s chief of staff, Senate president and a private businessman. He and his wife run Raye’s Mustard in Washington County.
“As Senate President, I worked to put Maine on a stronger economic foundation for the future by reducing debt, reforming welfare, reining in taxes and easing the regulatory burden on small businesses to encourage job creation — all while honoring our solemn commitment to our veterans, working to protect our elderly and disabled citizens, and keeping faith with our commitment to provide our children with the best possible education,” Raye said.
Democrats have occupied the 2nd District congressional seat since Snowe left the House to join the Senate in 1994. Michaud won six consecutive elections in the 2nd District since 2002, when Democrat John Baldacci left Congress to become Maine’s 73rd governor. Michaud defeated Raye twice, when he was first elected in 2002 and again in 2012.
On the Republican side, former Navy Capt. Blaine Richardson of Belfast and Rep. Alex Willette, the House minority whip, have officially announced their candidacies. Former House Republican leader Josh Tardy of Newport and former State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin are also considering runs.
The Democratic primary is also already contested: Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono; Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash; and Alden Smith, a U.S. Navy veteran from Sangerville, all have filed their candidacies with the Federal Elections Commission. Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci also has mused about whether to run, but has not made any plans official.
The National Republican Congressional Committee sent out an email touting their chances of winning the 2nd District seat while Michaud was still holding a press conference in Lewiston.
“Mike Michaud’s ‘official’ announcement that he is running for governor of Maine has ‘officially’ made Democrats worse off in their chances of retaking the House in 2014,” NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said in the email. “Between candidate recruiting fails and incumbents heading for the hills, it is clear that Democrats are fittingly headed for a 2014 election train wreck.”