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RATINGS CHANGE: Maine’s 2nd District

Ten years ago, the open-seat race in Maine’s 2nd District was one of the most competitive in the country. The seat is open again, but it may be further out of reach for Republicans this time.

Rep. Michael H. Michaud delighted some Democratic strategists by announcing his gubernatorial bid. He also left the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with an open seat to defend.

He won his initial race, 52 percent to 48 percent, in 2002, and Michaud has cruised to re-election ever since. In the meantime, the presidential results have also shown some movement in the district over the past decade.

Al Gore won the seat narrowly in 2000. But John Kerry and Barack Obama won it by wider margins in the past three presidential contests. Click here ($) for the Rothenberg Political Report’s more detailed analysis of the district’s election history.

In Michaud’s wake, both parties are headed for crowded and competitive primaries. But the Democratic nominee will likely start the general election with the advantage.

The open seat is better for Republicans than running against Michaud again, but this may not develop into a top GOP opportunity.

The race is now rated Democrat Favored (from Safe) by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.