A recent multimillion-dollar ad blitz in support of Republican candidates in U.S. House races has one notable omission: Kevin Raye’s bid for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

For the past two weeks, the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent more than $11.4 million in ad campaigns in 40 congressional districts in 20 states, according to federal records.

The ads are focusing on less than 10 percent of the country’s 435 congressional districts – but there’s a twist.

More than half of those races involve members of the committee’s so-called Young Guns, a group of strong House candidates to which Raye belongs.

Observers say a lack of such advertising could indicate that national party officials think Raye’s bid against five-term Democratic incumbent Mike Michaud is out of reach.

The fact that the Republican House arm didn’t put any money into the 2nd District “even though Raye’s been on the Young Guns list for a while – I think that tells us something,” said Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine.

“It makes you wonder what’s going on in the race.

“They were pretty enthusiastic at the outset – Raye’s a tough challenger, there’s no doubt about that. They moved him up on the list, but they haven’t put any money there.”

On Tuesday, Raye’s team began airing its second TV ad on Bangor, Portland and Presque Isle stations.

The 30-second spot features the owner of an aviation business, a former manager of a shipping port and an official at a pulp mill vouching for Raye’s accomplishments in the state Senate and his business-friendly outlook.

“Our first ad introduced Kevin Raye to the voters,” Raye campaign manager Robert Caverly said in a news release.

“The second ad focuses on Kevin’s proven record as a leader who fights for jobs. As a small businessman himself, Kevin knows what it takes to create and preserve jobs and has spent his time in Augusta working to help other Maine employers succeed.”

Caverly on Tuesday shrugged off any suggestions that the NRCC has cooled on Raye.

 

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Ben McCanna can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

bmccanna@centralmaine.com