A third candidate is looking to unseat Angus King from his U.S. Senate seat this fall.

Jason Cherry of Unity has qualified to appear on the fall ballot as an independent candidate, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Jason Cherry is running as an independent to unseat Sen. Angus King, I-Maine Contributed photo

King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is now facing at least three challengers – all of whom are facing steep odds to unseat the popular senator. King’s other challengers are Republican Demi Kouzounas and Democrat David Costello, both of whom are running unopposed in their party primaries.

Although he has yet to formally announce his reelection bid, King, who also served two terms as governor, has been fundraising and his campaign had raised $3.8 million through the end of March. He has nearly $2.5 million in cash on hand.

Cherry is a retired FBI agent who now works as an attorney specializing in cyber security issues, ranging from identity theft to ransomware attacks. He has never run for political office, but he helped collect signatures for last fall’s statewide referendum to prohibit foreign entities from spending money on local elections.

Cherry, 54, said he’s running to push for term limits – and age limits – in Congress.

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“I want to say that with the utmost respect for Sen. King,” Cherry said. “These positions are meant to serve the public and he has served the public for many years. Having an age limit is not necessarily age discrimination, but we’re seeing advanced cases of cognitive disability go unchecked and it’s concerning to those of us whose lives depend upon the competency of politicians.”

King is one of the oldest members of the Senate but remains a popular politician in Maine, according to polls. A recent poll by the University of New Hampshire’s Survey Center this spring found 65% of Maine voters expressed confidence that the 80-year-old incumbent is mentally and physically capable of serving another 6-year term.

Cherry said his views about age limits extend to the presidential race. He counted himself among those Americans who are disappointed with the choice between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.

“I’m not even sure I’m going to vote this year given the choices,” he said.

King is also facing Republican and Democratic challengers.

Demi Kouzounas of Saco is running unopposed for the Republican nomination. Kouzounas, who says she was recruited by U.S. Susan Collins, served as chair of the Maine Republican Party from 2012 to 2023. She was replaced as party chair after a disappointing midterm election in which Republicans were expecting to reclaim at least one legislative chamber.

Kouzounas, a 68-year-old veteran who now works as a dentist, has raised just under $175,000 for her campaign.

David Costello, a 63-year-old Brunswick resident, entered the race in April 2023 and is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He has raised about $72,000. He has held a variety of government and policy jobs over the years, including a stint as deputy secretary of Maryland’s Department of the Environment, and as interim Climate and Clean Energy Program director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Ranked-choice voting will be used to determine a winner in the Senate race. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round, an instant runoff will be held, in which the lowest vote-getter will be eliminated and their second choice votes will be distributed to the remaining candidates. That process continues until someone has a majority.

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