LEWISTON — The deputy chairman of a national Republican committee said Kevin Raye’s bid for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is just warming up, and TV advertising support could follow. Meanwhile, a poll released today from MaineToday Media shows Raye trailing Democratic incumbent Mike Michaud by 15 percentage points.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, made a brief stop in Maine on Saturday to stump for Raye during a fundraiser. The committee is watching the race closely, he said.

“This race matters a lot to us,” Walden said in a telephone interview. “I go to places where I think we’ve got a good opportunity, and I really believe that here.”

In July, the committee named Raye as one of 38 notable candidates running for the House — a group called the Young Guns. In recent weeks, the committee has launched a multimillion-dollar television blitz in support of 21 Young Guns — 55 percent of them — but, so far, Raye hasn’t been included.

Walden said it’s premature to draw conclusions from the committee’s ad placements in September.

“We haven’t laid down all our money and (advertising) buys yet,” he said. “We get into some races earlier; we get into some races later. A lot of that is bound up in strategy and tactics that we don’t forecast much about.”

A poll released today by MaineToday Media shows Michaud maintaining his lead over Raye — 54 percent to 39 percent, with 8 percent undecided. The poll was taken Sept. 12 to 16, roughly the same time as a survey taken by the Maine People’s Resource Center, which was released Sept. 20. In that poll, Michaud also led Raye, 56 percent to 37 percent. Four polls on the race during the last six months have shown double-digit leads for Michaud.

The new poll hadn’t been released while Walden was in Maine, but the seven-term congressman was upbeat about Raye’s chances Saturday.

Walden cited a recent endorsement from BIPAC — a Washington-based political action committee that supports business interests. Raye is one of only four challengers in 435 House races to receive the committee’s endorsement, Walden said.

“I think we’re seeing some interesting developments in this race,” he said. “It’s a very important endorsement to get.”

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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