A former NASCAR driver is betting he can take again Maine’s 2nd Congressional District for Republicans throughout subsequent yr’s race.
Austin Theriault, 29, formally filed paperwork Monday morning throwing his identify into the ring for the Republican nomination to problem Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden throughout the 2024 midterms, in line with his marketing campaign.
“Common hardworking people are getting held down by out-of-touch, out-of-state elites who’re clueless about how onerous it’s to make a residing in Maine,” Theriault mentioned in a press release. “And a few of our leaders will not be very efficient in combating again — and I can be.”
His Monday announcement hit on inflation, immigration and the drug epidemic that claimed a document 716 lives in Maine final yr. Theriault, a first-term Republican lawmaker representing District 1 within the Maine Home, blasted Washington’s “failed leaders,” taking particular goal at President Joe Biden, former Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, all Democrats.
“Golden is a pleasant man, however he’s nonetheless a part of the issue,” Theriault mentioned.
The For Kent native joins mortgage dealer Robert Cross of Dedham and fellow first-term lawmaker Michael Soboleski of Phillips, who represents District 73 within the Maine Home, in searching for the Republican nomination. Theriault boasts backing from nationwide Republicans, having had calls in latest weeks with Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California and U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, who chairs the Nationwide Republican Marketing campaign Committee.
Kevin Ball, an unenrolled candidate, additionally has entered the 2nd District race.
Golden, 41, has a substantial head begin on his challengers, reporting greater than $826,000 in donations from January by means of June, ending the interval with about $611,000 in money readily available.
Golden, a Marine veteran of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has repeatedly taken warmth from progressives in his celebration for voting with Republicans and towards fellow Democrats on a number of points, together with on pupil debt reduction, a protection funds with abortion limits, gun rules and Biden’s “Construct Again Higher” plan.
He’s probably the most conservative Home Democrat on financial points in each this Congress and the final one whereas leaning barely extra liberal on social points, in line with VoteView. Golden has taken extra progressive stances on points like tribal rights and marketing campaign finance reform, and Republicans level out that he most frequently votes along with his celebration.
“Joe Biden has failed us and Jared Golden extra occasions than not fails to face up, converse out, and get the job carried out for part of the state that desperately wants management,” Theriault mentioned Monday.
The 2nd District has develop into a key battleground for nationwide Republicans and Democrats over the previous decade. The Home seat has swung between each events, however Golden has maintained a grip on it since eking out a ranked-choice win over former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, whom Golden bested a second time of their 2022 rematch. Republican Donald Trump additionally has gained the 2nd District within the 2016 and 2020 presidential races.
Theriault beat Democrat Dana Marie Appleby throughout the 2022 election to fill the District 1 seat vacated by Democratic Rep. John Martin, a longstanding determine in Maine politics.
Theriault started his racing profession as a teen, and in 2019, he reached the very best stage of American racing, the NASCAR Cup Sequence. That yr he was injured in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, which put his racing profession on maintain. Since then, Theriault has centered on consulting and mentoring racers.
He returned to the racetrack for the primary time since that 2019 crash in August, when he competed within the Oxford 250 on the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine.