Maine’s 2nd District race between Michaud, Raye already getting national attention

With nine months still to go before the November election, the National Republican Congressional Committee already has begun aggressively targeting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine.

Michaud, a five-term congressman from East Millinocket, is set to run against Republican Kevin Raye of Perry, the current Maine Senate president. The race is a rematch from 10 years ago, when Michaud bested Raye 52-48.

The narrative from the NRCC seems to be to link Michaud to President Barack Obama whenever possible.

The latest criticism is over Michaud’s support of the Affordable Care Act that passed last year and a new directive from the president that requires religiously affiliated employers to provide contraceptives under employee insurance plans.

“Mike Michaud and Obama have already broken their promise that Obamacare won’t affect your health care if you like it. What other surprises are we in store for? Will Michaud finally admit that he was sold a big-government bill of goods, recognize that it’s time to repeal this government takeover of healthcare, and allow Americans the freedom to have the kind of coverage they want,” NRCC Spokesman Nat Sillin said in statement.

President Obama was expected to announce Friday that he would reverse his mandate on contraceptives.

The NRCC, a national group responsible for helping GOP candidates get elected, also has criticized Michaud for standing behind Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline.

Not all of NRCC’s messages regarding the Maine race have been negative. Another recent press release praised Raye as an “On the Radar” candidate, a sign that the NRCC is likely willing to spend a good amount of money in Maine to turn the 2nd District seat red.

Most political insiders predict that the race will be closer this year than in has been since Michaud and Raye first ran against each other.

“We are looking forward to working with Kevin Raye, who has already proven himself by meeting rigorous benchmarks in the ‘Young Guns’ program that will position his campaign for victory,” U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, the current NRCC Chairman, said in a statement. “Kevin Raye’s dedication and experience positions him to advocate for pro-growth policies and fight the failed Democrat status quo in Washington. This will stand in stark contrast to the Democrats’ record of spending, borrowing and taxing that Maine families know has failed.”

Michaud was targeted by the NRCC last summer when the Maine Legislature was battling over how to redraw the line between the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts. Many Democrats feared that the Republican-controlled Legislature would try to draw the line in a way that would make the 2nd District more competitive for a Republican.

The compromise redistricting plan did shift an estimated net of 2,000 Republicans into the 2nd District, but the original GOP plan would have added more than 8,000 to the 2nd District.