A Brunswick Democrat is the first challenger to emerge to take on U.S. Sen. Angus King in next year’s U.S. Senate race.

David Costello, a Brunswick Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Angus King.  Submitted photo

David Costello, a 62-year-old consultant, said he’s not really running against the two-term independent, whom he called “a very intelligent, thoughtful person.”

He said he is entering the contest as an “extreme long shot” because he wants to promote what he calls a reform agenda that would modernize the country’s government.

“Our governing infrastructure is as outdated as many of our roads, ports and bridges,” he said. “Partisan gridlock, government dysfunction, and political disinformation abound, and our imperfect democracy is in danger of becoming even more flawed.”

No Republicans have yet stepped forward to try to unseat King, a former governor who easily won a second term in 2018 in a three-way race. King has said he plans to run again but has not formally announced his reelection bid.

Costello, who was born in Bangor and grew up in Old Town, has held a variety of government and policy jobs over the years, including a stint as deputy secretary of Maryland’s Department of the Environment and Interim Climate and Clean Energy Program Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.


His reform agenda, outlined on his website, includes a call to end the filibuster in the Senate, increase national service programs for young adults, abolish the Electoral College, give presidents line-item veto power, adopt mandatory retirement for judges at age 80, increase the size of the U.S. House and much more.

“I view the Senate as obscenely undemocratic,” Costello said, and in need of an overhaul.

He said that he disagrees with King, whom he’s never met, on a few issues, but generally thinks he is one of the better senators caucusing with the Democrats.

Costello said his focus is on constitutional and legal reforms that would tackle some of the archaic systems that are holding back the country.

“It’s not about changing the politician. It’s about changing the system,” Costello said.

He said the nation’s founders never intended the Constitution to be something like the Ten Commandments, inviolable and timeless. They hoped for a natural progression toward something suited for ages to come, Costello said.

Costello, who is married with four children, earned a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

He worked on presidential campaigns for U.S. Sens. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Gary Hart of Colorado, but left the political scene to work overseas for nearly a decade in the 1990s doing development and humanitarian work in Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo.

He said he was raised by his mother and grandparents after his father, an Army veteran and union organizer, died young. He said his grandparents worked in the mills and railroads. He was the first in his family to attend college.

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