A former naval officer and a 24-year-old Republican from Gorham announced Wednesday that they plan to run for Maine’s two congressional seats.

Republican Isaac Misiuk of Gorham will run in the 1st Congressional District. Democrat Alden Smith, 31, of Sangerville will join what’s expected to be a crowded field in the 2nd Congressional District.

Smith is a former Navy officer who will enter a Democratic primary with two declared candidates, state Sens. Emily Cain of Orono and Troy Jackson of Allagash, the Senate majority leader.

State Rep. Alex Willette, R-Mapleton, the assistant House minority leader, also has declared his candidacy in the 2nd Congressional District.

Other Republicans are considering bids, including former House Minority Leader-turned-lobbyist Josh Tardy. Republican insiders suspect former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin also will consider a bid.

The 2nd District seat is now held by Democrat Mike Michaud, who is fundraising while exploring a run for governor in 2014.

Misiuk said in a press statement that he’s running to provide a “fresh perspective” in Congress. He is a former vice chairman of the Cumberland County Young Republicans and a former president of the College Republicans at the University of Southern Maine.

“One of the most important things we need to be focusing on is our next generation,” Misiuk said in the statement. “I know firsthand what it’s like for my generation, and it’s not good. I have friends with college degrees that are barely getting by on minimum wage while paying off massive loan debt. As a father, I have to worry not only about my generation, but my son’s generation, too.”

Misiuk is the first to announce his candidacy in the 1st District, which covers most of southern Maine. The seat is now held by Democrat Chellie Pingree.

Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, majority share owner of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.

Smith announced his candidacy as he took out papers with the Federal Election Commission. He said in a press statement that his official campaign kickoff is planned for later this year.

“My top priorities in the United States Congress will be building a strong economy, providing excellent public education, supporting working families, strengthening labor unions, and keeping America safe,” he said in the statement.

Smith was born and raised in Sangerville and was an officer on the submarine USS Pittsburgh. He now serves in the Naval Reserves in support of military efforts on the Korean Peninsula.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

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