Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, 2nd District, left, last week launched an exploratory committee for a gubernatorial run, sparking interest by Republican Gov. Paul LePage in a potential run for Michaud's congressional seat.
LePage's re-election committee has been active recently. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for LePage on July 2.
Bush, the son and brother of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively, will headline the event at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, where the Bush family has long had a summer home.
A number of Republicans are listed as hosts of the fundraiser, including former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and Linda Bean, a Maine businesswoman who has supported libertarian candidates and causes.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and businessman Les Otten are also listed as hosts.
In a prepared statement Friday, Snowe called LePage's remarks about Jackson "regrettable and inappropriate." She said the governor's apology "was in everyone's best interests" so the Legislature can continue its work.
Lucas Caron, a spokesman for Snowe, said he didn't know whether Snowe and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, would attend and co-host the fundraiser.
Collins "thinks it's appropriate that the governor has apologized," said her spokesman, Kevin Kelley, in an email Friday. He said Collins will co-host the fundraiser.
Poliquin did not return a message left on his cellphone Friday.
Maine ethics commission records show that LePage's campaign had raised more than $219,000 before the end of 2012. McKernan has given the campaign $3,000, while Otten and Poliquin have given $1,500 each.
Republican sources confirmed earlier this week that they had heard LePage was considering a congressional run, but questioned how serious he was.
In March, LePage jokingly mentioned to reporters that he may run for Congress, and that going to Washington would "be the death of me."
LePage sold his home in Waterville in 2011 after he became governor. His official residence is the Blaine House in Augusta. The governor's mansion isn't in the 2nd Congressional District, but federal law doesn't require residency in a district.
Jackson is also considering running for the 2nd District seat. He reaffirmed that interest in a news release Friday.
"Although I won't make a final decision until the Legislature's work in Augusta wraps up in the coming week, I am giving serious thought to a campaign for Congress from the Second District," Jackson said. "I would welcome Governor LePage's candidacy, and I look forward to the opportunity to put our competing visions for the people of Maine before the voters."
He said, "A matchup between the governor and myself would give voters a stark choice -- between someone who puts corporate special interests first and a lifelong champion for Maine's workers and families."
Michaud's interest in running for governor has cleared the way for 2nd District hopefuls. Potential Democratic candidates include:
• Emily Cain of Orono, a former state House minority leader and current state senator.
• Joe Baldacci, a Bangor city councilor who is the younger brother of former U.S. House member and Gov. John Baldacci.
• Attorney General Janet Mills.
• Secretary of State and former U.S. Senate candidate Matt Dunlap.
Potential Republican candidates include:
• Former state Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport.
• Former House Minority Leader Josh Tardy.
• State Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls.
• Former Senate President Kevin Raye, who twice ran unsuccessfully against Michaud.
• Rep. Alex Willette of Mapleton, the current assistant House minority leader.
Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: