U.S. Senate candidate Ross LaJeunesse withdraws, announces endorsement

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:00am

BIDDEFORD — U.S. Senate candidate Ross LaJeunesse announced March 26 he is withdrawing from the race and will endorse Sara Gideon. 

LaJeunesse was one of four Democrats running as part of the Democratic primary. 

The three remaining Democrats vying for the party’s nomination for a general election race against incumbent Susan Collins are Gideon, Bre Kidman and Betsy Sweet. 

Below is the full statement from LaJeunesse: 

I made the decision to run for U.S. Senate after a lot of thought and many conversations with my husband, Patrick, our family and friends. I knew it would be crucial to have the support of the people most important to us, and the reality is that no candidate ever runs alone. There are campaign staff, volunteers, supporters, and of course family and friends every step of the way.

I’m so thankful to my husband Patrick for being by my side during this campaign.

I am thankful for the love and unwavering support that Patrick and I have received from our parents, our siblings, aunts and uncles and cousins, and especially my two nieces, Eleanor and Maeve. And I am thankful for the many friends, both old and new, who encouraged and helped us.

Some of you know that my family lost my brother, Casey, in a tragic accident almost exactly 12 years ago today, on April 13, 2008. Casey has been an important part of this campaign, also. I’ve thought of him nearly every day, and part of why I ran is actually because of Casey and what he taught me.

After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy, Casey became a world traveler and true adventurer. He lived and worked in Europe, Australia and finally in Africa. He said “yes” as many times as possible during his short life. He didn’t let his decisions be guided by fear.

After he died, I put a quote on my desk:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

It describes the way Casey lived, and it also describes the key lesson I learned from his death: our time together is limited and we never know when it will end. Decide how you want to use that time. Say “yes” as often as you can. Don’t let your life be ruled by fear.

I have tried to say “yes” as much as possible in my own life, by focusing on work that has impact, and by doing what I can to make a difference.

I have lived the American dream. I grew up in rural Maine, in a Franco-American family that struggled financially. I have known the fear of almost losing my home, and the uncertainty of whether I’d be able to afford college. I went on to spend decades working on technology policy, international relations, human rights, helping to build businesses, and working in state government and in the U.S. Senate. I believe that my values and my life experiences would enable me to serve the people of Maine and the country well.

And so, seeing the significant challenges we’re facing both here in Maine and in our country, I decided to say “yes” to trying to make things better. I believe we must each be a part of the change we feel is needed.

The truth is that our government and our economy have not been working for most Mainers and most Americans for a long time. If we don’t change that, my generation will be the last with a chance at achieving the American dream that I have been so fortunate to live.

With the right leadership in Washington, I know we can get things back on track. That means defeating Donald Trump. And that means defeating Susan Collins.

These are the reasons I decided to run for U.S. Senate.

After consulting with my campaign team, I have determined that given current circumstances, there is no longer a path to victory for our campaign.

It would be wrong for me to represent otherwise.

I cannot ask my supporters to continue working hard, to continue making financial contributions, to continue volunteering, to continue advocating for my campaign when the country is focused on an unprecedented health and economic crisis, and when the type of campaign I planned, meeting voters where they live and work and speaking person to person, is impossible.

I am proud of the impact our campaign has had: releasing a comprehensive technology reform agenda, traveling across the state to meet Mainers in their communities, earning significant national media attention, highlighting the stories of Mainers who are being left behind despite working hard and playing by the rules, and running as an openly gay man with my husband by my side.

But now the question is how best to achieve my original goal for this campaign: ensuring that Susan Collins is defeated. For me, the answer is to withdraw from the primary and endorse Sara Gideon.

I have tremendous respect for Betsy Sweet and Bre Kidman. They care about Maine and our country, and are running for the right reasons.

This is also true of Sara Gideon. I admire Sara and her years of service to the people of Maine. She has served us well in Augusta and I am confident she will represent us well in Washington. I also know that Sara is the only Democrat who can beat Susan Collins. So I will do whatever I can to ensure that she wins in November and that she becomes Maine’s next United States Senator.

We cannot afford six more years of Susan Collins not showing up for us. We cannot afford six more years of Susan Collins putting Mitch McConnell and the Republican party ahead of Mainers. It is time to unify behind one candidate to give Mainers the voice in Washington we deserve.