Poliquin’s Democratic Opponent Still Uncertain in Maine

Ranked choice voting may delay primary results

GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin might have to wait and see who his Democratic opponent will be in the fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District still hasn’t been called as of Wednesday morning.

With 68 percent of precincts reporting, state House Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden was in first with 49.7 percent of the vote, just shy of the majority needed to avoid a so-called instant runoff.

Conservationist Lucas St. Clair was second with 40.6 percent of the vote. Craig Olson, an Islesboro bookstore owner and former selectman, was in third with about 10 percent.

Under the ranked choice system, voters rank their preferences. If no one wins more than 50 percent of voters’ first choices, Olson would be eliminated and his votes would be distributed to his supporters’ second choices.

It could take several days for the second-choice votes to be counted, so a winner might not be known until later this week or next.

Golden had raised the most money and had the backing of organized labor and local political leaders. He’s one of the young veterans running for office who’s been mentored by Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton.

But St. Clair, despite not dipping into his own personal resources, benefited from late outside spending from the League of Conservation Voters and a nonprofit group called the Maine Outdoor Alliance that praised St. Clair’s efforts to create the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. He’d also been endorsed by the Bangor Daily News. 

Golden and St. Clair both ended the pre-primary reporting period with about $100,000 — a drop in the bucket compared to Poliquin’s $2.4 million war chest. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Leans Republican

Watch: What You Need to Know for Tuesday's Primaries in 5 States


Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.