AUBURN — Though he does not plan a formal announcement until after Labor Day, Republican Eric Brakey entered the 2nd Congressional District race in Maine on Monday when he filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

State Sen. Eric Brakey speaks during a Second Amendment rally in April 2018. Kennebec Journal file photo

Brakey, a 30-year-old former state senator from Auburn, said Friday he has raised more than $100,000 toward the campaign to take on U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a first-term Democrat from Lewiston.

Brakey is the sole challenger so far in what is likely to be a costly, combative contest in a sprawling rural district that is the biggest east of the Mississippi River.

Golden won the seat last year by defeating two-term Republican Bruce Poliquin in the first ranked-choice voting election for federal office in American history.

It is not clear whether Poliquin will try to regain his seat. If Poliquin does jump into the fray, Brakey said he will pursue GOP backing in a primary next June to determine which of them the Republican rank-and-file prefer.

The 2nd District is among the most evenly split in the country, backing Barack Obama for president twice before handing Donald Trump his only electoral vote in the Northeast.

As of the end of June, Golden had raised nearly $600,000 toward his re-election — a modest showing compared to his peers in swing districts — and had almost $500,000 on hand.

Brakey gave up his state Senate seat last year to run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent. Brakey lost a three-way race by a wide margin as King cruised to a second term in the Senate.

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