Maine

Defeated GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin Calls for Recount to End
Maine Republican still has concerns about state’s ranked-choice voting system

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin called Friday for the recount in his 2nd District to end. The Maine Republican initially requested the recount following his apparent loss to Democrat Jared Golden

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.

Rohrabacher Mulls Starting Consulting Firm With Fired Aide
Paul Behrends was ousted from Foreign Affairs Committee after Russian contacts revealed

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is telling friends that he plans to form a consulting firm in Maine, according to recent reports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In his next act, California GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher might form a consulting firm with a former top aide linked to the controversial private security firm Blackwater and figures at the center of Robert S. Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Rohrabacher, ousted from his 48th District seat by voters last month, told senior staff members that he plans to create a consulting business called R&B Strategies with Paul Behrends after the current session of Congress ends, the Wall Street Journal reported.

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Past
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.

This week … Some Republicans started worrying about retirements, Mainers have been recounting ballots faster than expected, and one Pelosi rebel faced a primary threat.

Federal Judge Rejects Poliquin’s Challenge to Ranked-Choice Voting System
Poliquin lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, lost his re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge in Maine validated the state’s ranked-choice voting law Thursday, which was used for the first time in a federal election in the state’s 2nd District this year. 

U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s legal challenge to the new system, according to the Portland Press Herald. Walker ruled that the new voting process did not violate the Constitution.

Maine Recount Is a Low-Drama Affair — Unlike the Election
2nd District hand-counting has been going faster than expected, could end next week

Representatives from the Poliquin and Golden campaigns and the Maine secretary of state’s office recount the 2nd District ballots in a state office building in Augusta, Maine. (Courtesy Jared Golden for Congress)

Maine lawyers Benjamin Grant and Joshua Tardy are used to being holed up together.

For at least eight hours a day over the past week, they’ve rubbed shoulders in a cramped conference room in Augusta, overseeing the hand recount of the nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District. 

Senate Narrowly Votes to Reject IRS Donor Disclosure Rule

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has been a proponent of disclosure requirements for nonprofits spending money on elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted 50-49 to repeal a rule that shields donors to many nonprofit groups from disclosure to IRS officials.

The dramatic vote was tied at 49-49 with 49 Democrats voting in favor and 49 Republicans against, when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, cast the deciding vote to repeal the rule. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. was absent.

Shutdown Fears Abound, Despite Temporary Reprieve
Another deadline looming in appropriations standoff

Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, says Transportation-HUD measure not among the “problem child” spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle say they don’t see how the appropriations impasse ends without a partial government shutdown just in time for Christmas Eve.

President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution into law Friday that would change the expiration date of the stopgap measure enacted before the midterm elections to Dec. 21. But he wasted little time in taking aim at Democratic leaders for “playing political games” on border security funding, even as he prepares to sit down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in the Oval Office Tuesday.

With Opponents Dug In, Pelosi Has Little Room to Negotiate on Speaker Votes
At least 15 Pelosi opponents say they remain firm and will not vote ‘present’

Reps.-elect Max Rose, D-N.Y., left, and Jason Crow, D-Colo., pictured fist bumping at the new member office lottery on Nov. 30, are among the Democrats firmly opposed to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. Rep.-elect Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among those who voted against Pelosi in caucus elections but appears open to supporting her on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 15 Democrats resisting Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid are holding firm in their opposition and say they plan to vote for someone other than the California Democrat during the Jan. 3 speaker election, providing Pelosi with little room to negotiate a victory.

With the House poised to have 235 Democrats seated on the opening day of the 116th Congress when the speaker election takes place, Pelosi can only afford to have 17 Democrats vote and say a name that is not hers to meet the 218-vote majority threshold. 

Insurance Marketplace Sign-Ups Lag After Year of Changes
Fewer people are enrolling than last year, according to CMS

Overall health insurance enrollment on the federal exchange is down roughly 11 percent compared to this point last year. Above, Isabel Diaz Tinoco and Jose Luis Tinoco weigh different plans at the Mall of the Americas in Miami last year. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Enrollment in the insurance plans offered under the 2010 health care law appears to be lagging heading into the final stretch of the sign-up period.

Overall enrollment is down roughly 11 percent compared to this point last year, suggesting the final federal exchange numbers may end up lower than last year.

The Antonia Ferrier Guide to Being Kind and Not Sweating the Small Stuff
Veteran Capitol Hill aide joining public affairs firm Definers

Antonia Ferrier is leaving the Senate to work in public affairs at Definers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Antonia Ferrier is moving on from Capitol Hill, but she isn’t totally done with politics.

“I will definitely keep my toe, if not my foot, in politics,” the veteran staffer said in an interview at a coffeeshop downtown Thursday. She’s still figuring out exactly how she will continue to help the Republican team, and for now is looking forward to her new role off the Hill in public affairs.