Top House Republican endorses former NASCAR driver in contentious Maine election: ‘Strong conservative’

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., endorsed Maine GOP congressional candidate Austin Theriault, a former NASCAR driver, calling him a "strong conservative."

FIRST ON FOX: A top House Republican has tossed his support behind a former NASCAR driver-turned-GOP congressional candidate in Maine.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., endorsed GOP congressional candidate Austin Theriault on Tuesday amid his quest to flip the seat held by Democratic Maine Rep. Jared Golden from blue to red, Fox News Digital has learned.

In a statement obtained by Fox, Scalise said he was “thrilled” that Theriault was making a run for Congress.

“Thrilled to have Austin Theriault, a strong conservative from a French-Catholic family in northern Maine, running to represent Maine’s 2nd District,” Scalise said. “We badly need more conservative fighters who understand rural America in Congress, and Austin fits the bill perfectly. That’s why he has my complete and total endorsement.”


Offering his appreciation for Scalise’s support, Theriault, who currently serves as a state representative in Maine, insisted that the Republican leader has displayed immense “courage and perseverance.”

“Leader Scalise has demonstrated incredible courage and perseverance, as well as dedication to conservative values,” he said. “His recovery from being shot by a deranged leftist and his fight against cancer are inspiring testaments to his fortitude, and I appreciate his support.”

Theriault added, “Rural America is being hurt by Joe Biden and Jared Golden’s border and inflationary spending policies, and I’m running to fight back.”

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Scalise’s endorsement comes as Theriault seeks the seat held by Golden in a race that is expected to be one of the most competitive House races this cycle.

Theriault announced his campaign last September, saying he would “come in with fire” to Congress to confront issues like inflation, illegal border crossings and dying small towns.

“Regular hardworking folks are getting held down by out-of-touch, out-of-state elites who are clueless about how hard it is to make a living in Maine,” he said at the time.


Theriault has been vocal in his campaign on issues facing America, including speaking out against “pro-Hamas” protesters as well as the effort to remove former President Trump from the primary ballot in Maine.

Scalise is not the only leading House Republican to endorse Theriault’s candidacy. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., endorsed Theriault last month, referring to the former NASCAR driver as “a hardworking public servant with a strong track record of success.”

Additionally, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., threw her support behind Theriault in December.

Theriault, who has also been endorsed by numerous local and state leaders in Maine, recently announced that he has raised $500,000 since he launched his campaign.

Last Friday, Theriault’s campaign launched a district-wide radio buy touting his “pro-Trump” candidacy in the race.

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“Theriault’s not a politician, he’s a former NASCAR driver born in Aroostook County and raised on county values of hard work and grit,” the ad stated. “Theriault’s had it with Joe Biden and the radical left treating criminal illegals better than hardworking Mainers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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