PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Republican former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin announced Monday that he is running for Congress, declaring that a fiscal conservative is needed to counter politicians who are "spending us into oblivion." Another prominent Republican, former state Sen. Kevin Raye, said he will announce after Labor Day whether he will run.
Poliquin is the third Republican to announce intentions to seek the party's nomination for the 2014 election to the seat representing the 2nd Congressional District, a sprawling, largely rural district consisting of roughly the northern two-thirds of the state. The seat is held by Democrat Mike Michaud, who is leaving Congress to run for governor.
Poliquin is a fiscal conservative who used his position as state treasurer to advocate his views on smaller government and lower taxes. He announced his candidacy on a talk show on WVOM-FM in Bangor.
On his Facebook page, Poliquin said his experience as a "proven fiscal conservative" and job creator would serve the state well. He also said he wanted to bring Maine values of honesty, hard work and "doing the right thing" to Washington.
"We have a permanent class of politicians spending us into oblivion," Poliquin said.
Poliquin, who had unsuccessful bids in the GOP primaries for governor in 2010 and the U.S. Senate in 2012, lives in Georgetown, a coastal community in the 1st Congressional District. Although he is not prohibited by law from running in the 2nd District, his residency could be ammunition for opponents.
Other Republicans in the race are state Rep. Alex Willette, of Mapleton, and former Navy officer Blaine Richardson, of Belfast. On the Democratic side, Sen. Emily Cain, of Orono, Sen. Troy Jackson, of Allagash and former Navy officer Alden Smith, of Sangerville, say they are running.
Raye, of Eastport, was the Republican nominee for the seat in 2002 and again last year, losing both times to Michaud, who is now in his sixth term.
Raye said Monday he is leaning toward a possible run but is not ready to make an announcement.
"I'm feeling very good and very energized about it, but it's still summer in Maine and I'm not sure people are ready to hear much about political campaigns right now," he said. "I'll have more to say about it after Labor Day."