BANGOR — Tuesday night just kept getting better for Kevin Raye.

After the polls closed at 8 p.m., town after town reported that Republican voters favored Raye over Blaine Richardson as their candidate in the 2nd Congressional District.

Final results were unavailable late Tuesday night, but with 76 percent of the precincts reporting, Raye, the state Senate president, was declared the winner of the primary, with 60 percent of the vote to Richardson’s 40 percent.

Raye will challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in November’s general election.

Raye, his staff and more than 30 campaign volunteers and supporters gathered in a banquet room in the Ramada Inn to hear the results roll in and celebrate a clear victory. The guest of honor credited fellow state legislators for lending support and a voice to his successful primary campaign.

“I think my colleagues have recognized that I have the ability to build support among those folks who have been able to see what I do in office,” Raye said. “I’ve reached across the aisle. I’ve been constructive. I’ve been able to solve problems as opposed to the polarization and partisan shift we’ve seen in Washington.”


Richardson, a tea party-affiliated Navy veteran from Belfast, wasn’t ready to concede Tuesday night. Just after 10 p.m., with 56 percent of the votes counted, Richardson said the election wasn’t over and he would watch returns until the night’s end.

This will be the second time Raye, a self-described fiscal conservative, has faced Michaud for the 2nd District seat.

In 2002, Raye quit after 18 years on U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s staff in Washington, D.C., for an unsuccessful run against Michaud, who beat Raye by about 4 percentage points.

It was Michaud’s narrowest win in the district. In four subsequent elections, he won handily.

Raye said demographics in the district have shifted in his favor over the past decade.

“Out of 19 state senators who reside in the district, 15 are now Republicans,” he said.


Campaign consultant Kathie Summers was part of Raye’s team in 2002, and again this time. She said her candidate has the advantage.

“One of the criticisms in 2002 was Kevin had just returned from Washington,” Summers said. “This time, he’s running as a small-business owner. For the past eight years, he has been writing paychecks. He knows how to create a friendly business environment in Maine.”

Richardson, a self-described conservative with libertarian leanings, campaigned for “as little government as possible.”

“The things that are going on right now are bordering on tyranny,” Richardson said Tuesday night. “Whoever wins, me or Kevin, we’re going to focus on getting the socialist, Mike Michaud, so he isn’t serving the country.”

Richardson’s platform included term limits for Congress, support for a balanced-budget amendment, reform of the tax code, a repeal of so-called Obamacare and a reduction in federal regulations.

Raye’s political experience spans nearly two decades. Since 2004, the Eastport native has been a state senator. On Snowe’s staff, Raye served as chief of staff from 1994 to 2001, and as district director from 1983 to 1994.

Since 2005, the Bates College graduate has also owned and operated Eastport-based Raye’s Mustard, the only stone-ground mustard mill in North America. He lives in Perry with his wife, Karen.

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