Thursday, April 24, 2014
(This post was clarified to show Thibodeau will finish his term in the Senate - S.M.)
State Sen. Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, confirmed Tuesday that he may seek the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District.
Thibodeau, currently serving as the minority leader in the Senate, said that his potential bid for the seat currently held by U.S.Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, will hinge on whether he can build enough support to win the Republican primary and fulfill his duties in District 23.
"Like most people I'm obviously disgusted with what's going on in Washington, D.C., and what politicians have done to this country," he said. "I take my role in the state Senate very seriously. I want to make sure that we have enough fiscal conservatives in the State House to prevent Democrats from adding to the Maine tax burden."
Thibodeau's potential entry in the congressional race could complicate a Republican field already crowded with candidates aligned with the right flank of the party. He has remained a staunch ally of Gov. Paul LePage and earlier this year voted with the losing side to sustain the governor's veto of the Legislature's two-year budget. Democrats, who control the Legislature, and several Republicans voted to override the veto, arguing that it prevented a government shutdown.
Thibodeau would expand the current field of Republican candidates to four. Two of the declared candidates, former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Blaine Richardson, of Belfast, tout their allegiance to LePage and hard-line conservative principles. Kevin Raye, the former Senate President, is a former staffer of U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who garnered a reputation as a moderate during her lengthy political career. Raye's tenure in the Legislature was similar to his former boss in that he engaged with the opposition to forge deals on bills, including one that reformed the commission overseeing the Unorganized Territories.
Thibodeau said Tuesday that he was discussing his bid with advisers, but wouldn't name them. He said that he would finish his term in the Senate regardless if he decided to run for Congress.
Thibodeau served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives before defeating former Sen. John Piotti, D-Unity, to take the District 23 seat in 2010.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.