Dunlap to officially announce Senate campaign on Saturday

Former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap plans to officially launch his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Saturday in his hometown of Old Town.

Dunlap, a Democrat, completed the necessary paperwork last month with the Federal Election Commission but has yet to formally begin his campaign. He plans to host an event on Saturday at the United Steel Workers Local 80 in Old Town, the same place he first launched his political career in 1996. Dunlap served four terms in the Maine House before being tabbed by Democrats in the Legislature to serve as secretary of state.

The 47-year-old Dunlap will face State Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland in a Democratic primary next June.

The winner likely will face off against Sen. Olympia Snowe, who has held the seat since 1996. Snowe faces a primary challenge of her own from two tea party Republicans — Scott D’Amboise and Andrew Ian Dodge — but most political watchers see Snowe as safe.

Hinck, 57, a Portland attorney and three-term representative, made his official announcement on Nov. 11 in Orono.