US House Races/Maine

Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder.

Maine District 2:

Candidates are Bruce Poliquin (incumbent R) and Jared Golden (D)

Poliquin is the last R member of the House from New England.   He has voted with Trump 97% of the time and is “hard-right,” except sometimes on environmental issues.   His website says that he “attended” Harvard. He is a two-term incumbent, and he served as Maine Treasurer for one term.   He was a business-owner/manager, a principal at Avatar Associates, and his website says he was a “construction worker/painter” and “janitor” at Harvard, cleverly appealing to blue-collar guys in his district.   He voted for a House resolution that declared that a carbon tax would not be in the interest of the U.S. He supported a bill temporarily pushing aside endangered species protection in favor of electric power on the Columbia River system.  He voted for the harsh Goodlatte immigration bill this spring, for amendment of the Dodd-Frank law, for a Balanced Budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, even while he voted for the tax cut and Omnibus spending bills, which together add up to $3 trillion to the national debt.   Very pro-second amendment, he has received $200,000 from the NRA and voted for the concealed-carry bill, requiring states to honor concealed carry laws existing in other states. He is pro-life and is against sanctuary cities and states. He voted to repeal Obamacare. He is hard line on immigration.   Somewhat flexible on the environment he wants the U.S. to re-join the Paris Agreement, opposes oil drilling off the Maine coast, opposed delay in implementing the federal ozone rule and opposed the override of Obama’s stream protection rule. However, he did vote to restrict the President in declaring national monuments and opposed the new monument in Maine.   He had an astonishing $2.7 million in cash on hand at the end of June. His major contributors are retired individuals and securities and investment, Leadership PACS, insurance and real estate interests.

Golden is a 35-year old, two-term Member of the Maine House of Representatives.   Before that he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in active and reserved status for seven years, during the active portion of which he had combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.    He was also a staffer in the U.S. Senate (working indirectly for Senator Susan Collins) and spent some time in two businesses. In the Maine House he sponsored concealed-carry without a permit; voted for Medicaid coverage for reproductive care; voted against conversion therapy for minors and against prescription of lethal doses of drugs for terminally ill patients.   His website states the following positions on key issues: (1) Healthcare: He believes that healthcare is a basic right and that we should improve Obamacare, then implement a universal healthcare system; (2) Environment: Climate change is real; the country should re-join the Paris Agreement; (3) Education: He wants to implement a universal service program, participation in which would entitle the participant to two-years of free education; He also wants to establish universal pre-K education; (4) Trade: NAFTA has hurt Maine; trade agreements should not be used as investment opportunities for corporations; (5) Women: there should be mandatory paid family leave; private medical decisions should be made between a woman and her health-service provider; (6) Guns: retailers should be able to sell firearms to those who can legally possess them; he has not joined a pressure-campaign in Maine to get a particular store to stop selling assault rifles.   Guns in the second district are a third rail. Golden is trying to avoid being electrocuted by this issue. I did not find information on his position on immigration. I’d call Golden a “careful progressive,” much better than his opponent, but no flaming radical. He had $357,000 cash on hand at the end of June. His major contributors include Apple, Inc., VoteVets, Harvard University, End Citizens United and a couple law firms.

Description of the district This is all of Maine except the SW coast, making it the largest House district east of the Mississippi River.   It has an HMI of $47,000 and, thus, is not a wealthy district. It is mostly rural with large swaths of forest.  It includes the cities of Bangor, Lewiston and Presque-Isle. Trump won the district over Hillary by 10% in 2016.  I did not find an ethnic breakdown, but it can be assumed it is strong-majority White. Its PVI is R+2, but Cook estimates that it is a “toss-up” this fall.

Summary Golden is an excellent candidate for Maine 2.   He has more than a chance to take down Poliquin.   A very recent poll shows him up by 2 points over Poliquin once votes expected for two, minor third-party candidates are applied to the two major candidates under Maine’s ranked voting law.    His position on Guns is about as good as one might expect from an otherwise progressive candidate in this district. Big problem: Golden’s cash on hand is about 13% of Poliquin’s. Golden needs help.