February 23, 2020
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After months of speculation, Joe Baldacci announces he won’t run for Congress

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Joseph Baldacci

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci finally put rumors to rest Tuesday when he announced he would not seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

A lawyer and brother of Maine’s former Gov. John Baldacci, who also held the congressional seat for eight years before being elected governor in 2003, the councilor said he made his decision after nine months of careful consideration.

“I’ve gotten excellent feedback from people in Maine, consultants and people in D.C.,” he said in an interview. “If I wasn’t in the midst of a busy law practice, with a couple of cases I’ve been working on for several years going to trial, I’d be happy to spend 100 percent of my time running for Congress. But I’ve got to do my professional obligations first.”

Baldacci first broke the news in a Facebook post, saying “circumstances dictate that right now is not the right time.”

Maine’s largely rural 2nd Congressional District came up for grabs when six-term U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, announced his intention to run for Maine’s governor in 2014. Two prominent Democratic state senators — Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash and Emily Cain of Orono — are seeking their party’s nomination, as well as U.S. Navy reservist Alden Smith of Sangerville.

Despite never formally announcing his candidacy, Baldacci commissioned North Carolina’s Public Policy Polling to conduct a survey in the 2nd Congressional District in August. The results showed him with an early lead over his Democratic counterparts.

Baldacci said his decision was not influenced by conversations with Cain or Jackson, and that he won’t support one over the other in the June primary. He also said he’s volunteering for Michaud’s statewide fundraising effort.

“I’m going to support whoever the Democratic nominee is,” he said. “I don’t intend to get involved in the primary. I’m going to focus on Mike Michaud’s race.”

Republicans vying for their party’s nomination in the 2nd Congressional District include former State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin of Oakland, former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry and U.S. Navy veteran Blaine Richardson of Belfast.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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