Poliquin lost his race as part of the state’s new ranked-choice voting system for congressional races. Voters rank their choices in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority, the last place candidate’s votes are distributed to his or her supporters’ second choice. The process of elimination continues until a candidate gets majority support.
Poliquin had a slight lead in the first round but did not win a majority. Golden went on to win a majority on the second round of the process.
“The recount process has confirmed, and re-affirmed, an important fact: I won the largest number of votes on Election Day,” Poliquin said in a statement posted on Facebook. “… Although we continue to evaluate the legal process and the need for an Appeal on the Constitutionality of rank voting, due to the impending Holidays, I believe it’s important to end the recount process.”
Poliquin had also challenged the ranked-choice system in court, but a federal judge rejected that challenge Thursday.
Poliquin’s defeat means there will be no Republicans from New England in the House next year. But Golden, a Marine veteran and state legislator, will likely be a top GOP target in 2020. Trump carried the expansive 2nd District by 11 points in 2016.