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Sunday August 19, 2018
Posted: Apr 01, 2015

On a deadline day in Maine’s 2nd District, the pressure’s on Cain

Up Country

It seems silly to say 17 months from Election Day, but a fundraising deadline on Tuesday made for a reasonably big day in the 2016 race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, was only two months into his stint in Congress when his 2014 opponent, Democrat Emily Cain, announced that she’d run again. Working in Washington, he hasn’t said much about Cain’s early entry and she’s been mostly quiet.

However, they’ve certainly been busy: Poliquin and Cain had to close the books on fundraising for 2015’s first quarter on Tuesday night. They won’t have to file totals with the Federal Election Commission until April 15, but it’s going to be an early test for both of them.

The pressure, though, is on Cain. She has no platform in Washington and needs to push back against the idea that people could be a bit fatigued by a near-constant campaign. From Friday to Tuesday, her campaign sent out six fundraising appeals. That irked blogger Gerald Weinand, a prominent voice in Democratic politics.

Both Cain and Poliquin have proven to be good fundraisers: They ran the most expensive U.S. House race in Maine history in 2014 before Poliquin’s win, with outside groups spending nearly $3 million trying to get them elected. Money wasn’t the deciding factor in that race — after all, Cain slightly outraised Poliquin. 

But he’ll do better with Washington experience and she needs to keep pace. The parties have also increased the stakes, and both Republicans and Democrats have prioritized the race as one of the most important in the nation.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Democrats, has messaged against Poliquin accordingly. He was one of 15 members that the group will target with a round of ads in college newspapers — including The Maine Campus at the University of Maine in Orono on Monday. The ads don’t cite their claim, but they criticize votes in support of the House Republican budget, which would freeze maximum Pell Grant awards for 10 years.

It’s too early to tell whether the money or the attacks will matter. But it’s making for a quietly interesting campaign, even when we really shouldn’t be talking about a campaign.

 

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