Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R) announced a run for Congress today in Maine’s sprawling, rural and independent-minded 2nd district. He’s likely to have a clear shot in the GOP primary and face five-term Rep. Mike Michaud (D) in November.
“Everywhere I go, I hear enormous frustration with Washington,” Raye, who owns a gourmet mustard mill, said in a statement. “The bitter atmosphere in our nation’s capital won’t change until there are enough people in Congress who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work through differences respectfully to make government work for the people. That’s what we did in Augusta last year, and it can be done in Washington, too.”
Michaud, a former mill worker who fits the blue-collar district, is not considered particularly vulnerable. But as the Congressman begins his 10th year in the House, his connection to Washington could become an albatross. Maine swung heavily toward the GOP in 2010, with Republicans taking control of the Legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time in nearly five decades. Michaud, however, hung on with relative ease, taking 55 percent of the vote.
As voters in the 2nd district tune in to the race, they may experience a sense of déjà vu. The 2002 election for an open seat in the district also pitted Raye against Michaud. The Democrat won by fewer than 10,000 votes out of more than 220,000 cast.
“Congressman Michaud takes all elections seriously and this one will be no different,” spokesman Greg Olson said in a statement. “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.”
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.