Poliquin Loss Wipes Out New England Republicans in the House

Jared Golden defeated Bruce Poliquin in ranked-choice voting

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, center, lost his re-election on Thursday. He and former New Hampshire Rep. Frank Guinta, right, who lost in 2016, had been the last two New England Republicans in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s loss under the state’s new ranked-choice voting system on Thursday likely means the end of New England Republicans in the House. 

It’s the first time in over 100 years an incumbent has lost Maine’s 2nd District. Poliquin is still pursuing his legal challenge to the ranked-choice voting system in federal court, but Democrat Jared Golden won more than 50 percent after state election officials tabulated the ranked-choice votes on Thursday afternoon.

Poliquin narrowly led the Democrat on the first count, but since neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote, the state’s new ranked-choice voting system kicked in. A federal judge on Thursday morning denied a Poliquin lawsuit to seek an injunction against the tabulation of those votes.

After the last-place finisher was eliminated, Golden defeated Poliquin 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent, according to state election officials who declared Golden the winner. 

As recently as 2016, there were two New England Republicans in the House. But New Hampshire Rep. Frank C. Guinta lost his re-election that year to Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, with whom he traded the 1st District back and forth four times. Shea-Porter didn’t run for re-election this year, but Democrat Chris Pappas won the open seat. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte also lost in 2016, leaving Maine Sen. Susan Collins the only New England Republican left in the Senate. 

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