BANGOR (AP) – A 77-year-old former teacher and sheep farmer from Waldo County won a spot on the November ballot as the Socialist Equality Party candidate in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

State researchers said Carl Cooley of Jackson becomes the first socialist to run for Congress in Maine.

Cooley said his staunch anti-war stance led to his success in gathering voter signatures. By Tuesday’s deadline, he submitted roughly 3,000 signatures, or 1,000 more than required, and state election officials confirmed 2,254.

“We need a party that is independent of the Democrats and Republicans and can express the needs for the working class,” Cooley said.

The U.S. branch of the Socialist Equality Party was founded eight years ago.

Cooley will face Democratic incumbent Michael Michaud and Republican challenger Brian Hamel.

Former Bangor City Councilor David Nealley confirmed Tuesday that he would not seek the 2nd District seat.

Nealley had formed an exploratory committee and later dropped out of the Republican Party to keep open the possibility of running as an independent.

AP-ES-06-02-04 1012EDT

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