At least six Democrats are running to challenge Maine Republican Bruce Poliquin in a district President Donald Trump carried by 10 points last fall.
A new poll from the Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group gives Lucas St. Clair a double-digit lead over the rest of the Democratic primary field. The poll was paid for by “an independent organization with an interest” in the 2nd District, according to a Democratic activist in the state.
St. Clair led Assistant state House Majority Leader Jared Golden 40 percent to 8 percent, according to the poll. Former state Senate candidate Jonathan Fulford was at 5 percent and Bar Harbor restaurant owner Tim Rich was at 2 percent. Forty-five percent of voters were undecided.
For the general election, the poll found Poliquin trailing a generic Democrat by 10 points, but he narrowly led St. Clair in a head-to-head match-up, 44 percent to 41 percent.
St. Clair had the highest name recognition — 37 percent of primary voters had an opinion of him compared to 14 percent who had an opinion of Golden.
He is known for leading the campaign to create the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
“He’s been essentially running a campaign for the last five years, doing all the things politicians do,” said the Democratic activist, who’s supporting St. Clair.
The creation of the monument was controversial because it outlawed logging, hunting and all-terrain vehicle use on the former timberland. Hunting and ATV use is now permitted on some of the land. According to the poll, 77 percent of Democratic primary voters said their opinion of the park has grown more favorable over the last year.
St. Clair is the son of conservationist and Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby, who purchased nearly 100,000 acres of former timberland in the North Woods and donated it to the federal government with the goal of creating a national park.
St. Clair has the ability to self-fund a campaign, but in this rural, working-class district, he isn’t without potential vulnerabilities. He just recently moved back to the district after living in Portland in the neighboring 1st District.
Golden, a Marine veteran, represents a part of the district’s major population center in Lewiston. A former committee staffer to GOP Sen. Susan Collins, Golden was a top recruit for the national party. He’s been working with Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who’s recruiting veterans this cycle.
Poliquin is raising money to run for a third term, but hasn’t ruled out a bid for governor. All eyes are on Collins, who’s expected to announce her decision about a gubernatorial bid on Friday.
Forty-three percent of voters had a favorable view of the Poliquin, compared to 48 percent of voters who had an unfavorable view of him. The polling memo did not include favorability numbers for St. Clair or any of the other Democratic candidates.
Global Strategy Group surveyed 625 people, including 400 likely general election voters and 300 likely Democratic primary voters, Oct. 2-5. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points for the general election sample and plus or minus 5.7 percentage points for the primary sample.