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Monday April 22, 2019
Posted: Feb 19, 2015

Parties agree race in 2nd District should be hot in 2016

Up Country

At least Republicans and Democrats agree on this: The 2016 race in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District should be one of the most hotly contested races in the country next year.

Last week, Roll Call reported that freshman U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, has been added to a national party program for vulnerable incumbents. In early February, Democrats placed him on a short list of their prime targets in a presidential year.

Poliquin is among 12 members of the U.S. House of Representatives in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program,” which Roll Call said “will provide fundraising and organizational help to its members” as the party looks to shield its majority.

For the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Poliquin has been dubbed one of their 15 “one-term wonders,” saying the party will be in a good position to gain seat in a presidential year. The 2nd District, like the rest of Maine, has backed the Democrat in each presidential election since 1992.

This is happening without a firm Democratic candidate in the race. However, the DCCC has asked former state Sen. Emily Cain of Orono, Poliquin’s 2014 opponent, to run again, and she has said she’s considering it. Two Bangor city councilors, Joe Baldacci and Ben Sprague, are the only other party members publicly mulling runs.

Round 1 of Poliquin vs. Cain was the priciest U.S. House race in Maine history, with outside groups spending more than $3 million trying to get them elected, good for 28th among all 2014 House races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The parties weren’t setting up for a hot race so far in advance then. These early moves are a sign that the 2nd District’s next election will be more nationally significant than the last.

 

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