At the Races: As Goes Maine, So Goes …

2nd District race heats up, Collins nears gubernatorial position

There are plenty of Democrats lining up to challenge Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine. But he, along with Sen. Susan Collins, is considering a run for the governor’s mansion.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
There are plenty of Democrats lining up to challenge Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine. But he, along with Sen. Susan Collins, is considering a run for the governor’s mansion.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted August 25, 2017 at 5:02am

Maine’s political world faces a possible reshuffle, especially if the two Republicans in its congressional delegation run for governor there. Across the country, meanwhile, a House member running for governor in New Mexico is crying foul about campaign cash maneuvers. 

The Maine Event — House Edition

State House Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden, a Marine veteran, announced his candidacy for Maine’s 2nd District in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park on Thursday.

He’s taking on two-term GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin, whom Democrats have spent millions trying to portray as a Wall Street guy who only returned to the state to seek political office. (Poliquin was born and raised in Maine.)

Golden, 35, grew up in Leeds, a town of just over 2,000 people in central Maine. He joined the Marines in 2002, serving combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Golden graduated from Bates College, also in the 2nd District, in 2011. After volunteering in Afghanistan, he went to work for GOP Sen. Susan Collins on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Elected to the state House in 2014, Golden was elected assistant majority leader in 2016. He represents part of Lewiston, an old mill town on the Androscoggin River that makes up the major population center of the 2nd District.

Former state Senate candidate Jonathan Fulford, Dexter mail carrier Phil Cleaves and Islesboro bookseller Craig Olson are also running for the Democratic nod.

Story: Democrats Score Marine Veteran to Challenge Poliquin— Simone Pathé

The Maine Event — Governor Edition

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she will decide by the end of September whether to run for governor of Maine next year.

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is term limited, and several Republicans who are considering a run are waiting on Collins’ decision. Former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew is the only Republican who has declared for the race so far. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is also considering the race. 

“I have people come up to me every day saying we need strong leadership in Augusta, someone who can work with Democrats and Republicans,” she told WBLZ TV in Bangor this week. 

 In April, Collins acknowledged she was considering a run, saying she would decide where “I can do the most good for the people of Maine.”

Collins previously ran for governor in 1994 but lost to her current colleague in the Senate, independent Angus King. She was elected to the Senate two years later.

Story: Collins to Decide on Governor Run By End of September— Eric Garcia

Land of Enchantment Lawsuit

New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce is accusing state Democrats of playing politics with campaign cash the Republican wants to use for his gubernatorial campaign.

Last month, Pearce sued New Mexico’s Democratic Secretary of State to let him use $1 million from his congressional war chest to use for his run for governor.

Pearce’s attorney Bill Canfield said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas’ request for 60 days to respond to the suit is politically motivated to hurt Pearce’s chances, according to the Associated Press. 

The Secretary of State’s office had earlier told Pearce that he could only transfer $11,000 from his federal campaign to his statewide one.

New Mexico law limits campaign contributions to $5,500 in a primary election and the same for the general election.

“Congressman Pearce’s lawsuit raises multiple complex legal and constitutional questions that could have long-term effects on how campaigns are financed in New Mexico,” said Joey Keefe, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.

 Story: Pearce Says Democrats Playing Politics with His Campaign Cash— Eric Garcia