MAINE, USA — Three Republicans are vying for the opportunity to challenge freshman Congressman Jared Golden for his second district congressional seat.
Adrienne Bennett, Eric Brakey, and Dale Crafts are all running on the Republican ballot in Maine's second district.
Each candidate (to follow alphabetically) supports the president and identifies as a strong conservative.
Adrienne Bennet of Bangor is a political newcomer. Bennet worked as Press Secretary for former Governor Paul LePage for many years.
Eric Brakey is a former state senator and currently lives in Auburn.
Dale Crafts of Lisbon is a former state representative. Crafts has the endorsement of former Governor Paul LePage.
NEWS CENTER Maine's Hannah Dineen interviewed each candidate individually ahead of the July 14 primary. She asked each of them the same following questions.
What makes you the best fit for this job?
Bennett: "I’m a Mainer and we know what that means: we’re tough, we have grit, we’re fighters and I’m a fighter. I have been my entire life and I’ve beaten the odds. I’ve been underestimated.
What this race comes down to is work ethic, and I’m going to go to Washington and I’m going to help President Trump pass the America First agenda, and I’m always going to have Mainers in mind as a priority.
I’m going to protect innocent life, I’m going to protect our Second Amendment and I’m going to drain the swamp, I'm going help President Trump do that. That means those career politicians. I’m not a career politician! I never have been. I've worked in an administration that passed a lot of great policies and legislation but I'm certainly not a career politician."
Brakey: "I am the proven freedom conservative who gets the job done. Over my two terms in the Maine Senate, I got the job done with gun rights and constitutional carry, I reformed welfare, prohibiting the purchases of alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets with our tax dollars, and got our health care freedom back with 'right to try'.
I am the candidate who can defeat Jared Golden with a proven message of freedom with the strongest grassroots support and with the strongest ability to raise the funds necessary from our strong grassroots supporters to compete and defeat Jared Golden in November."
Crafts: "I have three things that former Governor Paul LePage said when he endorsed me and they're simple but they're true. I have the legislative experience which he knows, he witnessed; I have life experience and I have extensive business experience.
So I always challenge my opponents to put up their resume up on their website and compare. I ask the voters out there, look if you want to find out which candidate is the best, go to DaleCrafts.com and take a look at the testimonials, my life history, my work history."
Who are you and what do you stand for?
Bennett: "I’m a very strong conservative. I am pro-life, I am pro-Second Amendment, and I’m anti-China. We need to hold China accountable. We have a lot of work to do in Washington to stop the gridlock so I’m going to go to Washington and fight every step of the way to fight for Mainers.
I am pro-law enforcement and our immigration laws need to be addressed as well. I believe we need to take care of Mainers. We need to take care of our veterans and our seniors and address Mainers first before others come into this country."
Brakey: "I am the only true fiscal conservative in this race who is ready to go to Washington and slash the spending. I am the Second Amendment candidate in this race who has fought Michal Bloomberg and defeated him time and again and is ready to fight for our Second Amendment rights in Washington D.C.
If you want someone who is a true fiscal conservative who is ready to fight for our Constitutional freedoms then I'm your candidate."
Crafts: "I am a Republican; I’m a Christian; I totally believe in a moral compass. I believe this country was founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs. I think our founders when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were brilliant brilliant people and that's why our Constitution has lasted so long around the world and how America has changed the world to a free market.
Freedom is what it’s all about! People having the right to choose and be creative and go out and do things because no one is holding them back. We need less government and less government intrusion. We need to allow people to use their own imagination and creativity to prosper in life."
What can you bring to the table that the other two candidates can’t?
Bennett: "What has differentiated me from my two opponents is that I’m not a career politician and I’ve been underestimated my entire life. I was not born into business. I was born into welfare. I am the second district. My story is not remarkable compared to any other Mainer because we grew up very similarly.
I grew up from poverty, I came out of nothing, and I worked my way towards prosperity. I worked my way through college, I paid my own way, I had my daughter at 20-years-old, I worked three jobs. I worked also in an administration for seven years where I was the primary spokesperson for our most colorful and controversial governor so that's a background that sets me up for success in Washington."
Brakey: "In this race, I’m the proven candidate who gets the job done. I have a huge record of accomplishment during my time in Augusta passing constitutional carry, welfare reform, and 'right to try' when people thought it wasn't possible.
In a time of divided government, when Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on anything, I managed thousands of grassroots people to hold the politicians accountable and get our freedoms back."
Crafts: "I've been in business and I’ve worked many many deals in my life. I really have a gift of persuasion and an ability to sit down with people and look them in the eye and tell them this is what I think and this is why and this is why I think this is why you should move this way of this legislation or why you should move this way over there or we should increase over here.
I really have the ability to persuade people to come-- in my opinion of course-- in the right direction. So I'm going to take my skills, hiring people, talking to people, talking to customers, building businesses, that I've been developing my entire life to Washington."