Ronald Russell, of Kennebunkport, beat Andrew Piantidosi, of Cape Elizabeth, in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary Tuesday and will challenge U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in November’s election, The Associated Press reported.

With 99% of votes counted Wednesday, Russell had 57% of the vote, or 16,043 votes, while Piantidosi had 43% of the vote, or 12,218 votes.

Ronald Russell Contributed photo

Russell, who has never held elected office before, will face steep odds running against Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven seeking her ninth term representing the congressional district, which includes southern and coastal regions. First elected to Congress in 2008, she has easily defended her seat since then.

Russell, 69, is a retired U.S. Army veteran who also ran a military defense consulting business in North Carolina. He cited the economy and divisiveness in politics as key issues he wants to address.

“Our economy is suffering and our citizens are suffering as a result,” he said in an interview last month. “I want to try and change that.”

Piantidosi, 37, formerly worked in sales and business development and is a substitute teacher in South Portland schools. Part of the reason he ran, he said, was because of the challenges he and his wife have faced trying to get services for a young daughter with autism. He said he wanted to ensure parents get the right resources for their children and have the right to choose their schools. He also wanted to provide more help for homeless veterans.

Pingree faced Republican Ed Thelander, of Bristol, in her last reelection effort and won easily with 63% of the vote. In 2020, she won reelection with 62% of the vote, and the district is heavily skewed toward registered Democrats.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: