WASHINGTON — Joseph Baldacci of Bangor said Tuesday that he will not run for Congress in Maine’s 2nd District in 2014, setting up what appears to be a three-person Democratic primary for the open seat.
Baldacci, an attorney and Bangor city councilor, said in a statement that although he had been looking forward to the chance to run for the seat, his first obligation was to his caseload at his law practice.
Baldacci, who is a brother of former congressman and Gov. John Baldacci, said he has several high-profile cases coming to trial now, as well as more scheduled for trial in the next 90 days.
“My parents taught us to do the best job we can on the job in front of us,” Joe Baldacci said in a statement posted on his Facebook page. “I believe more important than seeking higher office right now is my duty to complete as well as I can the jobs I have in front of me and complete obligations I had made some time ago.”
Baldacci has been the potential wild card on the Democratic ticket for months. Two state senators – Emily Cain of Orono and Troy Jackson of Allagash – have already declared their candidacy for the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor in 2014.
Both Jackson and Cain have held leadership positions in the Maine Legislature, giving them name recognition within Democratic circles. But Baldacci would have brought his family’s prominent political name as well as his years of service on the Bangor City Council and as Bangor mayor.
The third declared Democratic candidate in the 2nd District race is political newcomer Alden Smith, a former U.S. Navy officer from Sangerville. Smith, who still serves as an officer in the Naval Reserves, is currently pursuing a graduate degree from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Baldacci said he received strong pledges of support from people around the state and indicated that he may explore a potential congressional run again in the future. His brother John represented Maine’s 2nd District for eight years before being elected to the first of two terms in the Blaine House in 2002.
“I very much would like to serve Maine in Congress and it would be an honor and a privilege at some point to do just that,” Joe Baldacci said.
Declared candidates on the Republican side include former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye, former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Belfast resident Blaine Richardson. Maine Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau of Winterport has also said he is considering running for the seat.
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