BANGOR, Maine — A former state legislator from Lisbon said Friday he is mulling a run for the Republican nomination in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, a day after former Gov. Paul LePage teased that there would likely be a primary in the 2020 race.
Former Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon Falls, said in a Friday text message he is “seriously considering” a run to unseat U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat who beat former Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, in a 2018 race decided by Maine’s new system of ranked-choice voting.
LePage, a Republican, said i n a Thursday radio interview “significant candidates” are thinking of running for the party’s nomination alongside former state Sen. Eric Brakey, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018 and the only party hopeful to declare so far in the 2nd District.
The former governor didn’t name potential candidates, but he could have been talking about Crafts, a businessman who served in the Legislature from 2008 to 2016, and former LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett, who is now a real estate agent.
In a text message, Crafts, 60, said he is “seriously considering” a run and that he has “had a lot of encouragement from my family and friends to do it.” He said he would decide in two weeks. Crafts has deep ties to Maine’s evangelical right. His cousin, former Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, was a 2018 gubernatorial candidate.
Bennett said it “would be exciting to see a strong woman step into this race” and it would benefit the party and state if that happened. She didn’t answer a question about whether she lives in the 2nd District, though the U.S. Constitution only requires a member of Congress to live in the state they represent. Bennett now works for a Falmouth-based real estate company.
Until Friday, no Republican but Brakey had been publicly considering a run against Golden. Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills told the Bangor Daily News in August that he was approached by high-profile Republicans to run but rebuffed the advances because he was busy with work on his eponymous foundation.
A spokesman for Brakey said Thursday that if others entered the race, he would welcome “a spirited debate on what Republicans should stand for in 2020.” He has slated a campaign launch event on Sept. 17.
This story will be updated.