Thursday August 29, 2013 | 12:24 PM

Former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye will make his third bid for Maine's 2nd Congressional District seat. 

Raye, a Republican, told a reporter at the State House Thursday that he plans to make his candidacy official immediately after Labor Day. The former staffer for retired U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe will enter a race that is steadily becoming more crowded with high-profile candidates. 

Earlier this week former Republican state treasurer Bruce Poliquin announced his candidacy for the seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. Michaud, who is serving his sixth consecutive term, is running for governor. 

Raye's candidacy isn't a big surprise. The Eastport resident began hinting that he was interested in the seat after Michaud made his gubernatorial bid official. 

"The support I've received has been astounding," Raye said Thursday. "I feel like it's the right time."

Raye lost to Michaud in 2012 and 2002. The first contest was close and decided by just 4 percentage points. Michaud's 2012 victory was more decisive, 15 percentage points. 

Nonetheless, Raye's legislative experience and fundraising ability make him a top contender in the Republican field. He would join declared Republican hopefuls Blaine Richardson of Belfast, and Poliquin.

State Rep. Alex Willette of Mapleton, the assistant House minority leader, declared his candidacy early this summer, but announced he was dropping out of the race on Wednesday. Former House Republican leader Josh Tardy, now a lobbyist at the State House, also confirmed this week that he wasn't running.

Democrats, Sen. Emily Cain of Orono, Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash and Alden Smith, of Sangerville, all have announced their candidacies. Other potential Democratic candidates include Attorney General Janet Mills and Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

 

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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
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