The field for the Republican primary in Maine’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District has shrunk to three after a little-known contender from Newburgh quit the race Wednesday.

“I am no longer thinking about running for anything during this election cycle and decided to just throw popcorn and tomatoes from the sidelines,” U.S. Army veteran Sean Joyce said.

His departure leaves two challengers trying to snatch the nomination from former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Orrington, who has by far the most campaign money and the support of national Republican organizations that want to see the GOP win the closely contested district in November.

Hoping to shock their party establishment and send Poliquin into political retirement are Liz Caruso of Caratunk, who has been making the rounds of county Republican committees recently, and Garret Swazey of Bangor.

Joyce, a fan of former President Donald Trump, said he would like to see Caruso do well. She is a longtime foe of the New England Clean Energy Connect project to bring hydropower from Quebec through a new transmission corridor in western Maine.

“She brings a lot of energy to the GOP,” he said, adding that he agrees with her about the hydropower project.

“Maine power should come from Maine sources even if that means building a new generation nuclear plant and certainly not rely on a foreign dependence,” Joyce said.

The winner of the Republican primary will get the chance to take on two-term U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Lewiston Democrat, assuming Golden wins a potential primary from Bangor’s Michael Sutton.

In addition to the major party candidates, the race has attracted two independents who are aiming for a spot on the November ballot: Tiffany Bond of Portland and Jordan Borrowman of Lewiston.

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