Eric Brakey, then a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, greets supporters at the Republican Convention in Augusta in this May 5, 2018, file photo. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Former state Sen. Eric Brakey on Tuesday morning officially announced his bid to unseat the freshman Democrat in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

Brakey, who represented Auburn in the Maine Senate from 2014 to 2018, is the first Republican to declare candidacy for the 2020 race in the 2nd District, according to the Federal Election Commission. Another Republican, former state Rep. Dale Crafts of Lisbon Falls, said earlier this month that he is “ seriously considering” a run to unseat U.S. Rep. Jared Golden.

Brakey filed with the Federal Election Commission in July to run against Golden, saying he was “99.9 percent” committed to a campaign. He said then that he filed because he “just wanted to get the paperwork in place.”

He made a formal announcement early Tuesday afternoon at Rolly’s Diner in Auburn.

“I’m running for Congress because my time in the Maine State Senate showed me that liberty is an unstoppable force, even in government, when the right person is fighting for it,” Brakey said in a statement announcing his bid. “What I did for Mainers, I will bring to Washington D.C. and create the same impact for my state and the rest of our great Republic.”

Brakey is a libertarian-leaning conservative who ran the Maine presidential campaign of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul in 2012. He also succeeded in passing a “constitutional carry” bill, which removed the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed gun for anyone over age 21 and all military service members over age 18, while in the Maine Legislature.

In 2018, Brakey attempted to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, but only received 35.1 percent of the vote to King’s 54.4 percent. A third candidate, Democrat Zak Ringlestein, garnered 10.5 percent of the vote.