PORTLAND — Republican congressional candidate Dean Scontras is stepping up his campaign to unseat Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree in Maine’s 1st Congressional District.

Scontras was joined by his family and several dozen supporters in kicking off his general election campaign at an event along the Portland waterfront today.

The candidate stood in front of a giant U.S. flag, and flanked by lobster traps, as he talked about the need to get the nation’s debt under control. Afterward, he and supporters held a cookout, and had lunch at picnic tables.

Scontras was unopposed in his primary. He says voters are fed up by the economic bailout, expensive health care overhaul and out-of-control spending. Pingree says she isn’t taking the election for granted and will work hard to secure a second term.