WASHINGTON — Republican Kevin Raye of Perry made it official today: He is running for Congress against Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District.

Raye, the state Senate president, said in a release that, “I look forward to running an issue-oriented campaign focused on making Congress work better for the American people, encouraging job creation and getting federal spending and debt under control.”

Raye’s announcement that he has filed the needed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to become an official candidate has been expected.

He has been weighing a bid against Michaud for months and formed an exploratory campaign in November, an interim step that allowed him to begin raising campaign funds.

The contest in the 2nd Congressional District will be a rematch.

In 2002, Michaud first won his seat by defeating Raye with 52 percent of the vote, and Michaud has been re-elected by comfortable margins since then.

Earlier this year, Maine Republicans attempted to make the 2nd District much more Republican through a proposed redistricting plan after the 2010 Census. Instead, a compromise moved just Democratic-leaning Waterville and Winslow from the 2nd District to the 1st District, and a few communities the other way, resulting in a net gain of about 3,000 or so Republican voters in the 2nd District.

Raye, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is in his fourth term in the Maine Senate and prevented by term limits from another state Senate run.

A message was left seeking comment from Michaud.

In the 1st Congressional District, state Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney of Springvale has been considering challenging Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: [email protected] Twitter: Twitter.com/MaineTodayDC

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