A three-term lawmaker from Paris, state Rep. John Andrews, quit the Legislature on Wednesday in disgust at the outcome of the 2nd District Republican congressional primary.

State Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris, quit the Legislature on Wednesday in response to Austin Theriault securing the Republican nomination in the 2nd District primary.  Submitted photo

Voters in the contest backed state Rep. Austin Theriault of Fort Kent by a 2-1 ratio over state Rep. Mike Soboleski of Phillips, for whom Andrews served as campaign manager.

“I don’t want to be part of anything within 1,000 yards of Austin Theriault,” Andrews said Wednesday.

Andrews, who was not seeking another term this year, said in a social media post that Paris voted for Theriault, who won 201-157.

“That made up my mind,” Andrews wrote on Facebook. “I’m sorry, but I’m done standing up for anything in this community. I’m officially retired from politics.”

“This absolutely disgusts me,” he said.


Andrews’ decision to give up his District 79 seat shows that Theriault may have a hard time uniting his party in the wake of a little-noticed but hard-hitting campaign to decide which of the GOP competitors would get the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Lewiston Democrat, in the Nov. 5 general election.

Andrews said Theriault’s “handlers are going to make a fortune” off his campaign, “but I think Jared is going to smoke him” come Election Day.

Theriault called his victory “the honor of my life.”

“I deeply appreciate the support and want folks to know: I am running to fight for you. It’s time to put people over politics,” he said in a prepared statement. “Too many Mainers have been forgotten and left behind by the political system in DC and the big money on Wall Street.”

But Andrews doesn’t see Theriault as someone who can change a sordid system.

“Theriault is already owned by the Swamp,” he wrote on Facebook. “He’s just too dumb to know it.”


Andrews said Theriault is “everything that’s wrong with politics,” especially the money grab by political consultants and aides that comes with cash from Washington-based powerbrokers.

Criticized by some for his choice to resign from the State House, Andrews brushed aside the barbs tossed his way.

“My dog doesn’t even like me. I’m used to it,” he said. “It’s not so much quitting as condoning evil.”

Theriault, a former race car driver, raised far more money than Soboleski because he had the backing of major figures and campaign organizations in the nation’s capital.

Most dramatically, the night before the election, former President Donald Trump doubled down on his endorsement of Theriault.

In a post on Truth Social, where the likely Republican presidential nominee regularly comments, Trump said Theriault will “work hard to Secure the Border, Protect our always under siege Second Amendment, Stop Crime, Cut Taxes, and Support our Brave Law Enforcement, Military, and Veterans.”

The Maine Legislature’s website showed his resignation within a couple of hours of opening for business Wednesday.

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