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Former NASCAR Driver Launches Bid For Congressional Seat

Former NASCAR driver Austin Theriault, a state representative in Maine, will run for U.S. Congress in a bid for the seat held by Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME).

“I’m an Aroostook County native, a small businessman, a state rep, & a championship-winning driver,” Theriault said.

“I’m running for Congress to fight & WIN for struggling Mainers under attack from out-of-touch elites,” he added.

According to Bangor Daily News, Theriault formally filed paperwork on Monday for the Republican nomination in the toss-up race.

“Regular hardworking folks are getting held down by out-of-touch, out-of-state elites who are clueless about how hard it is to make a living in Maine,” Theriault said, according to the outlet.

“And some of our leaders are not very effective in fighting back – and I will be,” he added.


Bangor Daily News reports:

His Monday announcement hit on inflation, immigration and the drug epidemic that claimed a record 716 lives in Maine last year. Theriault, a first-term Republican lawmaker representing District 1 in the Maine House, blasted Washington’s “failed leaders,” taking specific aim at President Joe Biden, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, all Democrats.

“Golden is a nice guy, but he is still part of the problem,” Theriault said.

The Fort Kent native joins mortgage broker Robert Cross of Dedham and fellow first-term lawmaker Michael Soboleski of Phillips, who represents District 73 in the Maine House, in seeking the Republican nomination. Theriault boasts backing from national Republicans, having had calls in recent weeks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California and U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, who chairs the National Republican Campaign Committee.

Kevin Ball, an unenrolled candidate, also has entered the 2nd District race.

Golden, 41, has a considerable head start on his challengers, reporting more than $826,000 in donations from January through June, ending the period with about $611,000 in cash on hand.

Fox News added:

The rural, sprawling 2nd Congressional District has become a hotly contested seat as the region has become a conservative bastion in liberal New England. Former President Donald Trump won the district in 2020, giving him an electoral vote.

Golden has won three times, twice defeating former GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin thanks to ranked voting. The voting system is designed to ensure the winner collects a majority of the vote by allowing additional voting rounds in which lower-ranked candidates are eliminated and votes are reallocated. It was upheld in federal court after Poliquin sued after his 2018 defeat.

Theriault isn’t the only race car driver to try his hand at politics in New England. Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott has for decades been a regular at the Thunder Road track, but his racing career didn’t reach the same heights as Theriault.

Theriault launched his career at the local speedway and worked his way to NASCAR’s top level before being injured in a crash at 2019 race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. He has since stepped back from driving, and consults and mentors other drivers.


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