In December, I wrote that Maine state Senator Eric Brakey was thinking about challenging incumbent Independent senator Angus King for his seat in 2018.
On Tuesday, he made it official. “I am getting into this race to challenge Angus King,” Brakey said, “and I am getting into this race now because I understand that I am going to be an underdog candidate.”
The Bangor Daily News reported on Monday, “It’ll be an uphill challenge for 28-year-old Eric Brakey against King, a popular former governor. The Republican also has a potential primary hurdle in Gov. Paul LePage. Brakey would be the youngest-ever U.S. senator from Maine.”
The report noted, “In a Saturday interview, Brakey touted his libertarian brand and stances, such as support for marijuana legalization that won him two elections in a closely divided Maine Senate district as a blueprint for statewide success.”
Brakey is a popular two-term state senator who served as the state director for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and also chaired Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign in Maine. He easily won re-election in 2016 and one of his more well-known legislative achievements was a 2015 bill that repealed Maine’s concealed handgun permit requirement. He also introduced “Right to Try” legislation which would allow those with terminal illnesses to experiment with non-FDA approved drugs.
If successful, Brakey would be a great addition to the libertarian Republicans in Washington currently making waves in the Senate and the House Freedom Caucus.
I wrote in December, “Sen. Brakey is also exactly the kind of new young liberty leader that Maine and America could use right now. Put simply: If you like Republicans like Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Justin Amash and Thomas Massie, you’re going to love Eric Brakey.”
He is unquestionably an underdog, but Brakey also possesses exceptional political skills that have served him well to date. Roll Call dubbed him “Maine’s 28-year-old political wunderkind,” last year.
Sen. King is an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats, making him a target for Republicans. The Bangor Daily News reported in December that Brakey “has proved to be a good fundraiser in his own right, raising $59,000 for his first Senate campaign and $56,000 as of Oct. 28 for last month’s re-election bid.”
“His past performance and national ties indicate that he could get a national fundraising apparatus up to challenge King, who had $169,000 on hand as of September’s end and raised less than any other U.S. senator elected in 2012,” the Daily News noted.
“I am proud to announce that I am running for the United States Senate to lead the charge in returning power back to the American people. For far too long, career politicians in Washington like Senator King have maintained power with empty promises and insider deal-making,” Brakey said in a statement.
“He is disconnected from the Mainers he is representing and is no longer working in Maine’s best interests. I promise you that I will go to Washington to break this unjust system,” Brakey continued. “I will disrupt the status quo and topple the Kings of Washington in order to return liberty and power back to where it belongs; with the little guy.”
Disclosure: I co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Sen. Rand Paul.