State Rep. Marty Grohman, an independent from Biddeford, has turned in enough qualifying voter signatures to get his name on the ballot in the race for Maine’s 1st U.S. Congressional District.

Grohman, who left the Democratic Party in September of 2017, will join Republican Mark Holbrook in an attempt to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat.

Pingree is seeking her fifth term in Congress.

In the Legislature, Grohman serves on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He is an engineer and entrepreneur who founded CorrectDeck, a composite decking manufacturing company.

Grohman announced he had turned in than the 2,000 voter signatures late last week. He will host a campaign kickoff event Wednesday at the Pepperell Mill Campus Event Center in Biddeford.

“It’s time to show that gridlock in government is unacceptable and that we need to get past our partisan biases to make life better for Mainers,” Grohman said in a prepared statement. “I’m running for Congress to fix, not fight.”

Grohman’s entrance into the race could create a challenge for Pingree, who has handily won reelection over her Republican challengers in the past. But as Maine voters may use ranked-choiced voting in congressional races this fall, Grohman could gain a majority by being the second choice of both Republican and Democratic voters.

In the ranked-choice system, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If after the first count no one wins a majority – more than 50 percent of the vote – the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose the eliminated candidate would have their ballots added to the totals of their second-ranked candidates, and the ballots would be retabulated. The process continues until one candidate has a majority and is declared the winner.

The Maine Democratic Party quickly went on the attack Tuesday, charging Grohman with voting with Republicans in Augusta.

“He wants to go to Washington to work hand-in-hand with Republicans to roll back the minimum wage for working people, hand over tax breaks to the wealthy instead of the middle-class, and support backward policies that would only make it harder for people to put food on the table,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said in a prepared statement.”Congresswoman Pingree continues to make Maine proud, and the last thing Maine needs is to send her opponent to D.C. when he’s already so tragically out of touch with Maine people.”

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: thisdog