AUBURN — Former Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn has launched an organization he is calling the Free Maine Campaign.

Brakey, who is coming off an unsuccessful bid last year to unseat U.S. Sen. Angus King, said the organization aims “to protect the freedoms and paychecks of Maine people” with a grass-roots effort to help Mainers “get active and involved” with public policy decisions that impact their lives.

The landslide win by Maine Democrats in November – when they captured the governor’s office, both houses of the Legislature and both of the state’s congressional seats – spurred Brakey to jump back into the fray because he is worried that after years of progress “we are now in deep danger of falling backward into the old days of nanny state government robbing more of our paychecks and telling us how to live.”

“It is a dangerous time any time you have single-party control of government,” he said, adding that it doesn’t matter which party is in control.

The initiative by the 30-year-old libertarian-minded Republican already has achieved some notice for raising questions about possible efforts by Democrats in Augusta to bolster gun safety laws.

The organization’s website has targeted Michael Sauschuck, Portland’s former police chief and Gov. Janet Mills’ selection for public safety commissioner. Sauschuck has advocated for universal background check legislation, as well as red flag bills and legislation that would ban assault-style military weapons.

Brakey said the Free Maine Campaign is not meant to be a partisan vehicle. He said that on issues such as corporate welfare and privacy rights, he’s found more allies on the Democratic side of the aisle than among his Republican colleagues. Criminal justice reform is another issue that crosses partisan lines, he said.

“I’m not a partisan,” he said. “I believe in liberty.”

Brakey said he’s not discouraged at falling short in his quest to deny King, an independent, from gaining a second term in the U.S. Senate and that he may seek political office again in the future.

[email protected]

filed under: