U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe is giving a boost to Republican Kevin Raye in his race in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, campaigning alongside him and endorsing him in a television ad.

A TV ad that went on the air Wednesday across the state shows Snowe and Raye together, with Snowe describing how Raye worked at her side for 17 years, owns a small business and worked for bipartisan solutions as president of the Maine Senate.

“I trust Kevin Raye. He’s exactly what we need in Washington,” she says in the ad.

Raye, who is Snowe’s former chief of staff, concludes by responding: “Olympia’s support means the world to me, and I would appreciate your vote.”

Raye could use a boost, as polls show him trailing four-term Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud.

Snowe spokesman Chris Averill said Snowe was too busy Wednesday to respond to questions for this story.

Raye’s relationship with Snowe goes back many years. He met her when he was 16, and campaigned for her in her first campaign for Congress. After college, he served on her staff before going to Washington as her chief of staff when she was elected to the Senate.

Kathy Summers-Grice, consultant to the Raye campaign, said, “Her words of support for Kevin underscore what’s so important, being able to send people with real leadership, real results, to Washington. And someone who can work across the aisle to work to stop the gridlock — someone who has a history of getting things done.”