AUGUSTA – Former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye will make his third run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Raye, a Republican, said Thursday that he plans to make his candidacy official after Labor Day.

The former staffer for retired U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe will enter a race that is steadily becoming more crowded with high-profile candidates.

Earlier this week, Republican former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin announced his candidacy for the seat, now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.

Michaud, who is serving his sixth consecutive term, is giving up the seat to run for governor.

Raye’s candidacy isn’t a big surprise.

The Eastport resident began hinting that he was interested in the seat after Michaud made his gubernatorial bid official.

“The support I’ve received has been astounding,” Raye said Thursday. “I feel like it’s the right time.”

Raye lost congressional races to Michaud in 2012 and 2002.

The first contest was decided by just 4 percentage points. Michaud’s 2012 victory was by 15 percentage points.

Nonetheless, Raye’s legislative experience and fundraising ability make him a top contender among the Republicans in the race.

Blaine Richardson of Belfast also has declared his candidacy, and former state Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport said Thursday that he will announce his candidacy at the end of September.

Rep. Alex Willette of Mapleton, the assistant House minority leader, declared his candidacy early this summer, but announced Wednesday that he was dropping out of the race.

Former House Republican leader Josh Tardy, now a lobbyist, confirmed this week that he is not running.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Emily Cain of Orono, Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash and Alden Smith of Sangerville have announced their candidacies.

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

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: @stevemistler