Possible political rematch for Maine Congressional contest

Republican Bruce Poliquin seeks to unseat democrat Rep. Jared Golden in 2022. In 2018, voters chose Golden to unseat Poliquin from the U.S. House of Representatives.
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 10:21 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Republican in Maine is campaigning in 2022 to get his former job back from the Democrat who unseated him from office in 2018.

Businessman and former U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, wants to return to Washington. It’s a seat he lost to current Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who is running for re-election this year.

When the Washington News Bureau asked Poliquin why he wanted to return to the House of Representatives, Poliquin said, “because our country’s in trouble. Our state’s in deep trouble. Unless we make a change with the people who have gotten us into these problems, it’s just going to get worse.”

For a rematch to happen between Poliquin and Golden, Poliquin must first win his primary. Liz Caruso is also running in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Golden is unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

Poliquin believes Golden’s Congressional voting record show he votes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “90%” of the time. He also called Golden’s agenda ‘liberal.’

Poliquin said if he is elected in November, there will be five parts of his ‘day one’ agenda.

“First of all, we’re going to end this off budget, unnecessary spending that’s driving up inflation. That’ll be the first thing because the House of Representatives, that’s where the spending starts. So we’re going to stop this unnecessary spending. Second of all, we’re going to stop planned tax increases. This Biden, Pelosi and Golden Agenda includes about three dozen different or new or tax increases, as per the president’s last budget that he submitted to Congress. So we’re going to stop those tax increases, which will help our families and small businesses. We’re going to start putting pressure on the administration through the budget process to reopen our supplies of oil and gasoline and diesel, heating oil, gasoline and diesel so we can drive down the price of energy. Third thing...is we’re going to put a lot of pressure on the administration to secure the border. Two years ago, we didn’t have these problems and our border was in the best shape it had been in in 30 years. Now it’s wide open. We’re going to stop that,” he said. “And the thing is, we’re going to end this crazy ‘defund-the-police’ movement that’s going across the country that’s causing a rapid increase in violent crime across the country.”

The Washington News Bureau made multiple requests for an interview with Representative Golden.

He didn’t go on camera, but his team did send a video of a speech Golden gave in May at the state’s Democratic Party 2022 convention.

In it, he said in part, “in 2018 I pledged I’d take on anyone. Republican or Democrat to fight for you. And I’ve stood by that promise.”

Golden highlighted his focus on workers, unions, and equal pay. He also emphasized his efforts on border security, inflation, federal spending, and what his campaign said is his record of independence from his party, voting against party leadership, and ability to work across the aisle.

Information provided by Golden’s campaign highlighted Golden’s record on issues such as his repeated votes against Nancy Pelosi to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives. They said he also broke from his party on votes on large spending bills such as the Build Back Better Act, the American Rescue Plan, and gun control. His campaign emphasized the congressman’s record on border security includes how he has led efforts to push back on against the Biden’s administration’s plans to rescind Title 42 immigration restrictions. They added he has consistently voted to increase investment in border security. Golden’s team said the congressmen has been working to address rising oil and gas prices since last fall. They said he led a bipartisan proposal to the White House outlining action to lower prices by boosting domestic energy supply, including using the Defense Production Act to incentivize American oil production, making releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and providing long-term purchase commitment to domestic energy producers, among other provisions.

University of Maine Political Scientist, Dr. Mark Brewer has been following the race for the U.S. House closely. He said he suspects if Poliquin and Golden face off again, the campaign will get ‘heated’ quickly. He noted both men have name recognition already in the state.

The Washington News Bureau asked Brewer if voters will decide which candidate to vote for based on the issues or on likability.

He said, “we don’t know the answer yet. We won’t know the answer. We won’t know the answer for sure until after Election Day in November. As we get some more reliable polling, you know, in August and September, we’ll start to have an idea. But right now, that’s the $64,000 question, right? Nobody can answer it at this point.”

He said Maine voters in the south tend to be ‘progressive’ whereas the rest of the state tends to lean conservative.

As for the issues that he believes will drive voters to the polls, he said gun rights, abortion rights, and environmental issues. However, he said the economy will likely be the number one issue that drives most Maine voters to cast their ballots.

“I mean, I think that’s the number one issue on the overwhelming majority of voters agendas this election cycle. And, I don’t care if you’re talking about Maine or anywhere else in the United States,” he said. “I think inflation is just the, the biggest item on the table and there’s not even a close second to it.”

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