Faced with the need to raise millions of dollars to make a serious bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Susan Collins, a retired general from Oxford decided Tuesday to quit the race.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” said retired U.S. Air Force Major Gen. Jonathan Treacy, “it just became obvious it was a bridge too far.”

Jonathan Treacy

The departure of Treacy, who entered the race in July, leaves three Democrats actively vying for the right to challenge Collins in next year’s election: state house Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport, Saco lawyer Bre Kidman and Hallowell activist Betsy Sweet.

Sweet estimated the overall race, counting all the dark money political advertising, might wind up costing as much as $150 million, far more than any political contest in Maine’s history.

Treacy said that as the price tag escalated, he became ever more wary.

It was reaching levels much higher than he’d been led to expect, he said, and he simply couldn’t see “a direct path” to victory with so much money needed.

Treacy, who has raised about $33,000 so far, said he faced an ethical dilemma even asking people for funds if he didn’t think he could use them to win.

After “doing the math and connecting the dots,” Treacy said, he realized the only option he had was to terminate his campaign.

He said he sees the country in crisis, with a president assaulting the nation’s foundations from within and climate change threatening the entire planet. There’s a crying need to address the issues, Treacy said, but the leadership for it is going to have to come from others given the political realities.

On the campaign trail this past weekend, Treacy said the United States is “desperate for leadership” to take on President Donald Trump and to deal with the crisis facing the nation. Collins, a fourth term senator, hasn’t provided that leadership, he said.

Treacy said that with Trump at the helm, the country is “under attack from our own president from within our own borders.”

While Treacy said he would like to continue to make that case to voters, he has to look at reality and deal with it.

He said Democrats in Maine have “an awful lot of passion” and with the right message can rally independents and even many Republicans to the cause.

But they’ll have to do with someone else on the ballot. He said he would have loved to serve, but it just wasn’t possible.


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