Republican seeks to challenge Jared Golden

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May 12—Calling himself a "Proud Christian" and a "Constitutional Conservative," Dedham resident Robert Cross is the first Republican to seek the chance to take on three-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in Maine's vast 2nd Congressional District.

Cross, a branch manager for a mortgage company, said he is running "because you deserve a representative who will protect our freedom, uphold our traditional American values and advocate for families."

On his campaign's Facebook page, he has posted about his opposition to abortion rights and promised to defend "the ability of law-abiding Americans to own and operate firearms."

Cross has limited political experience. Last year, in his first foray into the field, Cross fell short in a Republican state Senate primary in District 10, losing to Peter Lyford of Eddington, who is now in his first term representing the district in Augusta.

This time, he's aiming at an even higher office.

So far, he is the only GOP challenger to declare an intention to challenge Golden, who won a narrow election to claim the seat in a Republican-leaning district in 2018 but has shown little trouble winning reelection in two subsequent races.

A handful of other Republicans are eyeing the possibility of taking on Golden in the 2024 contest, including state Rep. Lauren Libby of Auburn and Liz Caruso of Caratunk, who last year ran a surprisingly strong primary campaign in which former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin emerged victorious.

Golden, whose district backed Republican Donald Trump for president, defeated Poliquin six months ago by a wide margin.

Cross and the Republicans hope they can do better against Golden in 2024. He is one of the GOP's top targets in the U.S. House.

According to his biography on the Northern Mortgage website, Cross has been in the mortgage industry in Maine for nearly three decades, including 16 years coordinating the Guaranteed Loan Program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In an interview with the Christian Civic League of Maine last year, he said he also operated a pizza restaurant and a Dairy Queen.

Cross, who could not be reached for comment, has two adult children and a wife, Angela, whom he married in 1993.

In an interview with the Christian Civic League, Cross said he decided to run for political office at the urging of church friends in 2021 at a time "when things started turning abnormal in our country."

He said he maintained "a sense of hope that this country can be salvaged."

"I know that our nation struggles when we drift away from the core values and beliefs that made our nation great," he posted on Facebook recently. "I will always uphold the Constitution and defend the liberty our Founders secured for us."

Members of Congress serve two-year terms. Candidates are chosen by political parties in primaries that will be held in June 2024. There may be independent contenders as well in the November 2024 general election.