A Republican lawmaker from Fort Kent running for U.S. Congress challenged the only other GOP contender in the Maine 2nd District race this week to a series of debates in the coming months.

Austin Theriault Submitted photo

State Rep. Austin Theriault proposed three debates organized by the Maine Republican Party in different parts of the sprawling district that has chosen Democrat Jared Golden of Lewiston to represent it since 2018.

In response Thursday, state Rep. Mike Soboleski, a Phillips Republican, said, “I look forward to multiple debates and sharing my conservative vision for the future with the voters of Maine.”

Theriault and Soboleski are vying in a primary to be their party’s standard-bearer in the general election in November 2024.

“We’re already running hard, and I’m looking forward to telling more voters about my campaign,” Theriault said in a prepared statement.

He said he is “running to bring Aroostook County values of hard work and integrity to a political system that badly needs more of both.”

“I invite voters to attend or watch the debates,” Theriault said. “I would be honored to fight for you in Congress.”

There are no Democratic challengers to Golden in the race. One independent, Kevin Ball of Bangor, has filed with the Federal Election Commission as a candidate, but has not reported raising any money in the 11 months he’s been in the contest.

Golden is considered one of the more vulnerable Democratic incumbents, in part because Donald Trump won the district handily in 2016 and 2020. Golden has, however, knocked out an incumbent Republican to win the district and fended off two tough challenges in the elections held since.

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