Exclusive — Bruce Poliquin Wages Comeback in Maine Battleground: Democrat Jared Golden ‘Is Not a Moderate’

Bruce Poliquin, Republican candidate for Maine's 2nd Congressional District, speaks at the Republican state convention, Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

LEWISTON, Maine — Former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) is campaigning across Maine’s vast rural Second Congressional District with an economy-focused agenda that he hopes will resonate with the district’s working-class and elderly populations.

Breitbart News observed as Poliquin visited with some of those from the district over the weekend and conversed with them about the impacts of inflation.

“How do you pay for all this?” Poliquin asked rhetorically as he stood on the side of a small street in Lewiston and calculated the cost of groceries, gas, heating oil, and electric bills.

Poliquin had just gotten done visiting with a woman named Lorraine, who told him she expected the cost of heating her home to triple this year.

“Things have to change,” she said, noting she planned to vote for Poliquin.

Shirley, an elderly woman living alone, told Poliquin her groceries were “very expensive,” adding, “It’s pretty tough now for a lot of people. … I’ve never seen it so bad.”

Sandy, a former cosmetic saleswoman, stood in her doorway as she said, “I’m retired, so it’s, you know, the cost of everything is doing a number on us.”

Bruce Poliquin, July 30, 2022

Former Rep. Bruce Poliquin door-knocks in Lewiston, Maine, July 30, 2022. (Breitbart News)

Poliquin is hoping to unseat Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), one of just a handful of Democrats representing red-leaning districts that former President Donald Trump won in 2020.

Poliquin faces the challenge of convincing voters that he should replace Golden, a former Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who, at times, has been known to defect from his party and vote with Republicans.

Asked if Golden’s moderate reputation was a concern, Poliquin replied, “He’s not a moderate.”

“He sells himself that way, but a moderate would not be part of spending trillions and trillions of dollars that is printed or borrowed that is driving up inflation,” Poliquin said. “A moderate wouldn’t do that.”

Golden votes in line with President Joe Biden’s agenda 84 percent of the time, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. He votes with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), an outspoken member of the far-left flank of his party, 89 percent of the time, Pro Publica found.

If Biden and his mammoth multitrillion-dollar spending packages are to blame for 40-year-high inflation — and many economists contend they are — Golden then shares partial blame based on his voting record.

Golden was the lone Democrat to vote against the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act and the $1.7 trillion Build Back Better Act. But the Maine Democrat still voted in November 2021 in favor of passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion so-called infrastructure plan that included several race and gender provisions and other items well outside the scope of the traditional definition of infrastructure.

Republicans widely criticized the bill, describing it as a “green new deal lite,” estimating it allotted only $110 billion to roads and bridges and other usual infrastructure projects, and blasting the pet projects for individual congressmembers that were buried within the lengthy bill.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted the infrastructure plan would add a net $256 billion to the federal deficit over a ten-year period.

Golden has cast other votes that could prove redeeming among his constituents. He has on multiple occasions bucked his party on gun control measures. He voted against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as speaker of the House twice. He only voted for one of the two articles of impeachment against former President Donald Trump during Trump’s first round of impeachment.

The New York Times observed after the split impeachment vote that Golden risked “dual backlash” from each party because of it.

“It might be a lonely place for me to be in Washington,” Golden told the Times at the time. “But it’s not a lonely place for me to be here in Maine, and in my district.”

House Democrats last year also passed two major immigration bills, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the American Dream and Promise Act, which would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in the form of green cards and pathways to citizenship, respectively. The bills served to incentivize the many migrants hoping to cross the United States-Mexico border illegally.

Golden was the lone Democrat to vote against the green card bill, but he voted in favor of the citizenship bill.

UNITED STATES - MARCH 6: Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, is seen during a House Armed Services Committee hearing titled "Outside Perspectives on Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Posture," in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jared Golden is seen during a House Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

“A moderate would not spend us into oblivion and cause this inflation, and a moderate would not keep our border open, in fact, going on two years,” Poliquin said. “That is a very extreme position, and it’s causing all kinds of hardship in Maine because of these overdose deaths we’re seeing in records up here. So, Jared Golden votes more than 80 percent of the time with Biden, Pelosi, and AOC. He is not a moderate.”

Golden also voted in line with Democrats in favor of an extreme abortion bill, the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” last fall, which would have enshrined late-term abortion access into federal law and nullified state abortion restrictions. The measure failed in the Senate this year, with no Republican voting in favor of it and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is often seen as a centrist like Golden, also voting against it.

“You know right now we have a situation where we need leadership in the Second District,” state Rep. Josh Morris told Breitbart News. Morris is a Republican representing Turner and went to high school with Golden.

“You need somebody who understands what it takes to create jobs, who understands the issues, like inflation, gas prices, and what that does to businesses in the Second District, and Bruce Poliquin knows that,” Morris said. “He did it before for four years, and Jared Golden, just frankly, I don’t think he is being the leader that we need.”

Poliquin, who served in office for two terms before narrowly losing to Golden as a result of ranked-choice voting in 2019, said the number one driving reason behind his seeking another term this year was “keeping our seniors safe.”

Maine has the largest share of elderly residents in the country, according to Census data compiled by PRB.

“It’s not Arizona, and it’s not Florida. The oldest average age in the country is Maine, and we have about a third of our seniors [who] only have Social Security, so we have a lot of people on fixed incomes with no savings, and they cannot afford the cost of heating oil to stay warm. They cannot afford to put gas in their car,” Poliquin said.

CORRECTS CITY TO BANGOR NOT HERMON Bruce Poliquin, Republican candidate for Maine's 2nd Congressional District, speaks to reporters during a campaign stop at Dysart's Restaurant and Truck Stop, Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Bangor, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Bruce Poliquin speaks to reporters during a campaign stop at Dysart’s Restaurant and Truck Stop, May 19, 2022, in Bangor, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Poliquin, whose 94-year-old mother lives in a nearby nursing home, said, “We have about four hundred small towns and plantations, very small communities with lots of seniors on their own, and my passion is helping them, because they don’t have the services that you can get when you’re in Lewiston or Portland or Bangor … and all those folks are not going to be able to stay warm this winter.”

Poliquin added, “So there’s no need of this. [Democrats] have caused this problem. Jared Golden is part of this.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.

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