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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Two years ago, Bruce Poliquin kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign in Maine at a tea party event and courted voters within the ultraconservative movement.

Poliquin now hopes to become the first Republican in nearly two decades to fill the congressional seat in Maine's 2nd district, and he rejects being labeled as a tea party candidate.

The former treasurer faces Democratic state Sen. Emily Cain in November. He has received support from a national group and a lawmaker aligned with the tea party, which Democrats are using as ammo in trying to paint his views as extreme.

But Poliquin says he doesn't believe in being defined by any label and has never been a tea party member. He says his message and record appeal to Mainers across the political spectrum.

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