PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Emily Smith, a farmer and chair of the Presque Isle City Council, is setting her sights on the Maine Senate — along with former attorney general Michael Carpenter of Houlton and Ricky Long, a logger and current state representative from Sherman.

Unless another party candidate files by the March 15 deadline, Republican voters in southern and central Aroostook County will be deciding between Long and Smith in the June 14 primary to replace Republican Sen. Michael Willette, a Presque Isle real estate agent who is not seeking re-election.

Smith, who helps manage a family-owned broccoli-growing company, announced her intention to run as a Republican candidate in late February.

“I love what I do and I have a strong passion for my home and my county,” Smith, who has been chair of the Presque Isle city council for five years, said in a media release. “My priority will be to stand up for the hardworking people of Maine by moving our economy forward and ensuring that The County, and our state, can prosper for generations to come.”

Ricky Long, who has worked in logging most of his life while spending the last six years as a Republican state representative, said he believes he can get more done in the state senate on issues like the struggling biomass industry.

“We’ve got to do something to keep these mills open and not lose any more,” he said.

While he describes himself as “a traditional pro-life candidate who votes conservative,” Long said he doesn’t “care about party politics” and has worked with legislators of diverse backgrounds. He said he helped sponsor last year’s “constitutional carry” law, which allowed Mainers to have concealed handguns without a permit, and that he and others are today focusing on “trying to deal with overpopulation in our jails,” among other issues.

This fall, either Long or Smith would then face Michael Carpenter, the only Democratic contender so far. Any independent candidate has until May 25 to file papers to be on the ballot.

Carpenter, who was Maine’s attorney general from 1991 to 1995 under Republican Gov. John McKernan, runs a private law practice in Houlton while operating the Wildwood Stables horse-drawn carriage business in Acadia National Park with his daughter.

“I’m worried about northern Maine,” Carpenter said. If elected, he said affordable energy and broadband Internet access would be two major focus areas, along with expanding the voice of rural Maine in Augusta. “Policies have to take northern and eastern Maine into account, and I’m not sure they always do.”