YARMOUTH — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, before a crowd of about 250 people Friday night, cast Sen. Angus King, as a big spender with no new ideas, and urged Maine voters to support Republican Eric Brakey instead.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky prepares to introduce Republican Senate candidate Eric Brakey at Friday’s rally in Yarmouth. Paul said before the rally, “I’m as excited or more excited about his candidacy than anybody because he’s a liberty candidate.”

Paul’s visit to Maine to formally endorse the two-term state senator from Auburn is the highest-profile endorsement Brakey has gotten so far.

“I think he’s one of the best candidates in the United States really,” Paul said of Brakey in an interview before the rally at Patriot Insurance in Yarmouth. “I’m as excited or more excited about his candidacy than anybody because he’s a liberty candidate. He’s not just any old Republican. He’ll be a much more independent voice, much more independent that your current senator, who says he’s an independent.”

Brakey’s first introduction to Maine politics was back in 2012, when he came to the state to run the campaign for Paul’s father, Ron Paul, a former senator from Texas.

The Pauls and Brakey represent the libertarian wing of the Republican party, advocating for almost no government regulation and against nearly all wars.

Paul is a reliable vote for the majority Republicans in the Senate but he’s a bit of a wild card, too. Brakey has had a similar profile during his two terms as a state senator.

After he decided last year to challenge King, who is seeking re-election to a second term, Brakey has attempted to raise his profile and often that has involved supporting President Trump.

Democrat Zak Ringelstein, a former teacher and entrepreneur, also is in the race.

Not much polling has been done to date, but King held a commanding lead in a poll released last month by Suffolk University, with 52 percent support, compared to 25 percent for Brakey and 9 percent for Ringelstein.

Brakey said he was thrilled to have Paul’s support.

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“Senator Paul has sometimes been fighting a lonely fight in the U.S. Senate, standing up for our liberties, our freedoms, our constitution, and hopefully after this November, when we win this race for U.S. Senate, it will be a little less lonely,” Brakey said.

Both Paul and Brakey addressed the crowd and touched on a number of traditional Republican talking points, including tax cuts and support for the 2nd Amendment, something Brakey has championed here in Maine. They both talked a lot about liberty and the constitution, often to applause.

Paul told the crowd he’s been pleasantly surprised by President Trump, whom he challenged in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

“All of these attacks on the president ignore what the policy is, and if you’re a conservative Republican, we’re pretty happy with the policy,” he said.

As for Brakey, Paul told the supporters that he would need their help to defeat King. He also pointed out that, at age 30, Brakey would be the youngest senator, by far.

“That means I could boss him around a little,” Paul said to laughs.

Earlier, Paul acknowledged the uphill battle Brakey faces against King but said he thought there were things working in Brakey’s favor.

“I think you’re seeing a lot of upheaval going on,” Paul said. “I think the population is wanting something new. Senator King has had a long time to serve his country and I think it’s time for Maine to choose someone who brings some fresh ideas.”

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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