Sen. Micheal Thibodeau, R-Winterport, who for the past year has served as the Maine Senate minority leader, announced Tuesday that he is seriously considering a run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Thibodeau, a small business owner who prides himself on creating and sustaining jobs, said his bid for Congress is dependent on whether he can campaign while finishing out his term in the Maine Senate.
“I want to make absolutely sure that anything I do does not interfere with the work I’ve got to do here in the State House this winter,” said Thibodeau to the Bangor Daily News Tuesday afternoon. “That’s my number one priority. I need to make sure I’m fulfilling my obligation as a Senate Republican leader and to the people of Waldo County who give me the privilege of serving in the state Senate.”
Thibodeau would join a growing field of Republicans interested in the seat, which will be left vacant next year because Democratic Rep. Michael Michaud is vacating it to run for governor. Also campaigning for the Republican nomination are former State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin of Oakland, who in recent years has run unsuccessful primary campaigns for governor and the U.S. Senate; Blaine Richardson of Belfast, a former Navy captain who unsuccessfully tried to win the 2nd Congressional District nomination in 2012; and Kevin Raye of Perry, a former state Senate president, candidate for Congress and long-time aide to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Thibodeau, a graduate of Hampden Academy and owner of heavy equipment dealer T.B. Equipment in Bangor, served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives and is midway through his second term in the Senate. As the Senate Minority Leader, Thibodeau established his conservative ideals by usually voting with Republicans, including being on the losing side of a vote earlier this year that overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the biennial state budget.
Thibodeau said he still lives less than a mile from where he grew up and that living in Washington D.C. even part time isn’t something he will enjoy. However, he said he can’t sit idle with all that’s happening on Capitol Hill.
“One thing that has become very apparent to me is that the Democrats in Washington have gotten really good at handing out welfare checks,” he said. “We’ve got to measure our success by paychecks rather than welfare checks. We’ve made so many promises that we can’t deliver on as a nation and we continue to add to this tremendous debt.”
There are also two Democrats from the Maine Senate in the race, Sens. Emily Cain or Orono and Troy Jackson of Allagash. Alden Smith, a political newcomer from Sangerville, also has declared his intention to run for the seat as a Democrat.
CORRECTION: Bruce Poliquin, formerly of Georgetown, now resides in Oakland, according to his campaign.