Rep. Michael Michaud’s campaign to unseat Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is now official.
Michaud, a 58-year-old Democrat, kicked off his 2014 campaign today in Lewiston, the most populous city in a mostly rural district that he’s represented since 2003. Michaud formed an “exploratory” committee in June.
LePage is vulnerable, according to nonpartisan political analysts Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report. Michaud’s campaign is complicated by the candidacy of Eliot Cutler, a lawyer and political independent who took 36 percent to LePage’s 38 percent in a five-candidate race in 2010.
Michaud’s quest for governor means he won’t be seeking re-election in a district that backed President Barack Obama by 53 percent to 44 percent over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to Political Capital calculations.
Of the 16 districts that House members have vacated or aren’t defending, Michaud’s 2nd District is the only one where Obama or Romney’s margin of victory was fewer than 10 percentage points in the 2012 election. Republicans control the House by 233-200.
Maine’s 2nd probably will be more politically competitive with Michaud not defending it in the 2014 election. Three Democrats, including state Sens. Emily Cain and Troy Jackson, have filed statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. State Rep. Alex Willette, who’s 24, has filed for the Republicans.