Two Republican candidates for Maine’s two congressional seats face an uphill battle against Democratic incumbents. But Dean Scontras and Jason Levesque are encouraged by the big GOP turnout in Tuesday’s primary and hope it will help in their own campaigns.

In a state that’s known for its moderate Republicans, a swell of conservatives, tea partyers and sympathizers turned out to give a stunning victory to conservative Paul LePage in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary. Observers give him some of the credit for drawing the party’s biggest turnout in state primaries since 1952.

The fired-up Republican Party, the tea party movement and voters’ dark view toward Washington have combined to shape this election season in a way that could help both Scontras and Levesque.

“Conventional wisdom is sort of out the door with this election,” said Scontras, a businessman from Eliot who lost his primary two years ago to a more moderate GOP candidate, Charlie Summers.

Scontras hopes the conservative tide will give him a boost in his bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree in the state’s 1st Congressional District. To the north, Levesque has attended tea party functions as part of his effort to beat Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud in the 2nd Congressional District.

“My confidence was high when I announced in June, but it’s now gone through the roof,” said Levesque, a marketing executive from Auburn. “The people are energized.”

Seven gubernatorial candidates and a tax reform referendum drew Republicans to the polls Tuesday, and LePage turned out an especially big vote.

All told, about 131,000 Republicans voted, outnumbering Democrats.

Scontras and Levesque were unopposed Tuesday so they received scant media attention, even though both have been running active campaigns.

Both stand to receive noticeable bumps from the tea party movement and its sympathizers, said Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine. Also going in their favor is an anti-incumbent sentiment and anger directed at the Democratic president, Barack Obama.

But that may not be enough.

“It will increase their support,” Brewer said. “I just don’t think it’s enough to carry them to victory in November, or even to make it much of a serious race.”

Sandy Maisel, a longtime political observer and political science professor at Colby College, agreed but said all incumbents will have to run serious campaigns if they want to avoid being swept up in the anti-incumbent fervor.

The electorate “is not anti-Democrat or anti-Republican. They’re anti-Washington, and incumbents have to make sure they don’t get caught in that wave,” Maisel said.

Pingree said she feels the tea party-inspired GOP platform and LePage’s success don’t necessarily reflect the sentiments of most Mainers.

“I continue to believe that this particular ideology is a little more conservative than the average Maine voter. But we’ll work hard,” she said. “I would never take any election for granted.”

One thing that’s encouraging for Levesque and Scontras is LePage’s success on a frugal campaign budget. LePage doubled the votes of his closest primary challenger, Les Otten, despite spending less than $200,000, compared with more than $2 million for Otten, according to the latest campaign reports.

Scontras and Levesque will have fundraising disadvantages of their own. But they think the timing is right for Mainers who are frustrated by big programs and the growing national debt to vote Republican in November. Scontras said he has been approached by Democrats who plan to jump ship.