Republican Courtney turns in signatures for 1st District U.S. House race

AUGUSTA, Maine — Jonathan Courtney, R-Springvale, the Maine Senate majority leader, has submitted the necessary signatures to get on the ballot for Maine’s 1st Congressional District race.

Courtney, who is termed out in the state Senate, could face a primary opponent against Patrick Calder, who has declared his intent to run but has not turned in his signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The winner of that GOP primary would face Chellie Pingree, the Democrat who has held the U.S. House seat for two terms and is running for reelection.

Courtney’s entrance into the 1st District race is interesting. Before Sen. Olympia Snowe announced she would not run for reelection, Courtney had no interest in running against Pingree, who is popular and has access to a large campaign war chest.

However, once Snowe said she would retire and Pingree flirted with running for Snowe’s Senate seat, Courtney began gathering signatures for the House race, likely assuming he would not have to run against Pingree.

But Pingree announced last week that she was staying put and, earlier this week, she submitted the necessary signatures to run for reelection to the House.

Asked about the race this weekend, Courtney said he’s committed to running but knows he faces an uphill battle against Pingree.

“When I decided to enter this race, I was optimistic in believing I would be able to collect the necessary signatures within the timeframe given, but I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have seen across the first district. I thank each and every volunteer for the many hours you gave to support me in collecting signatures,” Courtney said.