WASHINGTON – State Rep. Alex Willette, R-Mapleton, said Wednesday that he is suspending his congressional campaign.

Willette, who serves as assistant minority leader in the Maine House, had filed paperwork as a Republican candidate in the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District last month. But the 24-year-old indicated Wednesday in an email to supporters that he was dropping out of what is expected to be a crowded field for the open seat.

“Now that Congressman (Mike) Michaud has officially announced his campaign for governor, Republicans have a great opportunity to send a representative to Congress who will fix Washington and stop the out-of-control spending,” Willette wrote.

“I want to do what is best for my party and at this time I believe my resources and energy will be better spent helping Republicans win Maine’s 2nd, working to keep the governor’s mansion and retaking the majority in the Legislature. Therefore, I will be suspending my campaign for the 2nd Congressional District as of today,” Willette said.

Before ending his campaign, Willette was one of three Republicans who had officially declared their intentions to run for the seat now held by Michaud – a six-term Democrat – although more candidates are expected to join. Former Maine Treasurer Bruce Poliquin of Georgetown announced his candidacy earlier this week while Belfast resident Blaine Richardson is seeking the Republican nomination for the second time.

Former Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry – who ran against Michaud last year – and former state Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport also said last week that they are considering running on the Republican ticket.

Three Democrats have officially joined the race: Senate Assistant Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, whose district includes Willette’s hometown of Mapleton, Sen. Emily Cain of Orono and Alden Smith of Sangerville.
Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at: kmiller@mainetoday.com.

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