Republican Mark Holbrook, who has his eye on the 1st District congressional seat, said Tuesday he considered running for U.S. Senate instead.
Holbrook, a Brunswick physician who lost a 2016 bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, said he’ll seek a rematch with her instead of taking on “the biggest fraud in American politics,” U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
With Holbrook’s decision, the GOP still has only one contender to take on King, who is running for a second term: state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn.
“Avoiding a Republican primary in the Senate race will also help unify the party and help Sen. Brakey to be more successful raising money,” Holbrook said in a prepared statement.
Brakey, who declared his intention to run in the spring, has raised a little less than $80,000 for his long-shot campaign, with relatives and two members of the Bean clan providing half of the funds he received.
He had $32,000 on hand as of the June 30 filing deadline with the Federal Election Commission, compared to $1.2 million in King’s coffers.
Holbrook said that after he announced in January that he would challenge Pingree again, many people reached out to him to take on King instead.
“I have prayed about it,” he said. “I have discussed the idea with my family. I have talked about it with my campaign team.
“It is clear to me that my heart is in the House of Representatives and that is what I am called to do,” Holbrook said.
He said Pingree “has done more than enough damage to our state and to our country” and should retire and return to her native Minnesota. Pingree moved to Maine as a teenager and has never left.
Holbrook lost to Pingree by a 58-42 percent margin last year but sees hope for 2018.
“I will win in 2018 and become the second Republican member of the House of Representatives from New England,” he said.