AUGUSTA — Three Republicans have filed petitions to appear on the primary ballot for candidates hoping to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Maine Republican Olympia Snowe.

Business owner Scott D’Amboise and former state Sen. Rick Bennett filed their petitions on Monday, and Secretary of State Charlie Summers did the same today.

They’re the first three Senate hopefuls to submit 2,000 or more signatures following Snowe’s decision not to seek re-election. The deadline for doing so is Thursday evening.

Other Republicans collecting signatures include Attorney General William Schneider and state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin. No Democrats had filed for Senate as of this afternoon.

In the 1st Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree is assured of a GOP competitor with petitions filed Monday by Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney.

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