ELIOT (AP) – A businessman from Eliot announced Thursday that he is entering the 2008 race to be the Republican candidate for Maine’s 1st District congressional seat.

Dean Scontras, 37, becomes the second Republican to file for the seat being vacated by six-term Democrat Tom Allen, who is running for the Senate against Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

Scontras said he hopes to go to Washington “in the spirit of Ronald Reagan” at a time when the nation faces “daunting problems.” He calls his vision of government “Republican 2.0.”

“Maine deserves a congressman who understands that the best solutions to our nation’s problems come from the citizens themselves, not from the government,” Scontras said.

Scontras will face Charlie Summers, a former Small Business Administration chief in New England. Summers, who ran and lost against Allen in the 2006 election, is a Navy reservist who has been deployed to Iraq. Summers’ campaign will be waged by his wife until he returns to Maine next summer.

At least six Democrats have either announced their candidacies or are weighing entry into next year’s race. They include Michael Brennan, Adam Cote, Jill Duson, Chellie Pingree, Mark Lawrence and Ethan Strimling.

Scontras is a native of Kittery and a 1991 graduate of the University of Maine at Orono. He and his wife, Dawn, have two children. He is employed as a sales consultant for a data networking company in Portsmouth, N.H.

Phineas Sprague, a retired business executive from Cape Elizabeth, will serve as chairman of the Scontras’ campaign committee.

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