AUBURN — Bettyann Sheats, a former state representative, announced Thursday she is seeking to represent state Senate District 20, which includes Auburn, Durham, New Gloucester and Poland.

The Auburn Democrat narrowly lost a race for state Senate in 2022 to Republican Eric Brakey.

Brakey, who had previously served in the Senate from 2014 to 2018, opted not to seek another term this year because he is moving out of-of-state to serve as the director of an effort by libertarians to build a stronghold in New Hampshire.

So far the only other candidate in the race is Dustin Reginald Ward of New Gloucester, an independent, but Republicans have made it clear they intend to do everything they can to maintain the GOP’s hold on the district.

Democrats, too, are eyeing the district as a key battleground in their quest to retain control of both houses of the Maine Legislature.

“Bettyann is a freedom fighter who is passionate about protecting and serving her constituents,” Senate President Troy Jackson, an Allagash Democrat, said in a prepared statement.


She is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the U.S. Army for 12 years, including seven as a helicopter pilot, Jackson said.

“I’ve dedicated my life to serving our country, our community, my faith and my family. In my heart, there is no better place than Maine to live, work, play, and raise a family or retire,” Sheats said in the prepared statement.

“With that in mind, I am excited to announce that I am running for the Maine Senate to continue to be a champion for our community,” Sheats said.

“It takes a team to tackle the challenges that we’re facing,” she said. “As your senator, I would bring all voices to the table to unite us around common-sense solutions. I will work tirelessly to represent you and your families well in Augusta.”

Sheats, who held a state House seat in Auburn for two terms, owned and operated a small business, Finishing Touches Shower Doors.

She helped form the St. Mary’s Food Pantry and became a vestry member and warden at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, where her husband, Rev. George Sheats, is the priest in charge. He is also a former Army helicopter pilot.

In the state House, Sheats’ campaign said she pushed for legislation to support veterans, lower property taxes and increase the accessibility and affordability of healthcare.

If there is a primary, which appears unlikely, it would be June 11. The general election is Nov. 5.

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