Former Maine Senate candidate Robert Cross of Dedham said Wednesday that he would run against U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from Maine’s 2nd District.

It comes a week after the Bangor Daily News reported that the mortgage broker from Dedham was among a short list of Republicans considering a run. He is the first but almost assuredly not the last Republican to jump into the 2024 swing-seat election.

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The potential field: Caratunk selectperson Liz Caruso, who ran a longshot primary against former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2022, has said she is considering a run, as has state Rep. Laurel Libby of Auburn. All are untested at high levels of Maine politics.

Cross lost his legislative primary last year to Sen. Peter Lyford, R-Penobscot, although the candidate managed housing programs in the region for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for decades and comes from   a well-known Bangor-area business family as the grandson of the late Woodrow Cross, who founded Cross Insurance.

His line: “My whole life, I’ve been brought up to have an interest in people in general, it doesn’t matter who they are, what they believe, what they think, or anything,” Cross said last week. “It’s sad to see where our country has changed so much and how it’s impacted the people in our state.”

A tough race: Golden has registered impressive performances since ousting Poliquin in 2018. He won more votes than former President Donald Trump when they shared the 2020 in the conservative-leaning district, then   beat Poliquin again last year by a 6 percentage points in the second race between the two to be decided by ranked-choice voting.

The congressman cut across normal political alliances to win in 2022. Golden’s votes against Democratic gun control policies led the National Rifle Association, which endorsed Poliquin in 2018, to   sit out of the race. Golden won the endorsement of   a key police group here and was also   praised by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which helped draft a gun safety bill   that Golden backed but   Poliquin opposed.

Golden is taking a more prominent role in national politics, now leading the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of centrist Democrats. Though   FiveThirtyEight found he voted with Biden less than any other House Democrat in the last Congress, Republicans will argue that he is mostly in line with his party, especially   after a high-profile vote last year for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Key note: Cross is getting an early start in filing. Poliquin entered the 2022 race in August of the previous year. The candidate’s announcement news release was sent by Charlie Puyear, a Republican consultant based in Kansas City, Missouri, breaking somewhat with the recent tradition of operatives with Maine backgrounds heading up major-seat campaigns.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...