Robert F. Bukaty | AP
By Alex Acquisto, BDN Employees •
October 15, 2018 2:47 pm
Up to date: October 15, 2018 5:10 pm
As candidates vying for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat gear up for his or her final televised debate, let’s unpack a number of the factors made in the course of the first debate every week in the past between two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and his Democratic challenger, Jared Golden.
Maine’s 2nd District, probably the most rural within the nation, stretches between the state’s japanese, western and northern borders, encompassing elements or all of 11 of the state’s 16 counties. Voter registration within the district has tilted towards the GOP within the 4 years since Poliquin gained the seat in 2014.
In 2016, the district gave its electoral vote to President Donald Trump in a historic cut up from the remainder of the state. Since Trump was elected, Poliquin has voted with the president’s place 97 % of the time, based on FiveThirtyEight.
Tapping the district’s rightward shift and the benefits incumbency presents, Poliquin has sought to painting Golden as culturally and politically out of contact with the district’s hardscrabble, majority working-class citizens that tends to worth independence greater than get together allegiance.
Golden, a Lewiston native and Marine Corps veteran, has campaigned as pragmatic greater than partisan, and as somebody whose working-class roots distinction with Poliquin’s wealth-building within the monetary sector.
In advertisements and through the first debate, every tried to painting his partisan opponent as excessive. Let’s type by means of that marketing campaign clatter on three key issues.
Poliquin accused Golden through the Oct. eight debate of conspiring to remove Mainers’ 2nd Modification rights, and he touted endorsements from the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation, the Gun House owners of Maine and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, towards Golden’s low or failing scores. Since he was elected, the 64-year-old hasn’t voted for any restrictions on firearms.
Final yr, he supported a invoice to make concealed-carry permits legitimate throughout state strains. Golden voted towards an identical invoice within the Maine Legislature.
Poliquin additionally voted to make sure that any veteran deemed mentally competent be capable of buy a firearm and to reverse a rule enacted beneath former President Barack Obama in an effort to make it simpler for somebody with a incapacity to purchase weapons.
Golden, who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan throughout his 4 years within the Marines, has campaigned as a 2nd Modification advocate, pointing to legislative votes that supported what he calls “common sense public policy and safety” measures.
In 2015, Golden co-sponsored a invoice later handed into regulation that permits Mainers to hold a hid weapon with no allow, however he ended up voting towards the ultimate model of the invoice after it was amended. The 36-year-old later voted towards implementing a statewide registry that may’ve required gun house owners to register their firearms. Golden has voted in favor of permitting using silencers on searching rifles. He thinks bump shares ought to be banned however that AR-15’s shouldn’t be.
He didn’t help a separate invoice to permit the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to request info on gun gross sales and argued as an alternative that such a request ought to solely happen if there’s a pending legal investigation. He sees these nay votes as “protecting people’s 2nd Amendment rights from overreaching bureaucracy.”
Coverage selections which have earned Golden condemnation from organizations like Gun House owners of Maine and the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation — which throws its help virtually solely behind Republican candidates, together with Poliquin — embrace making it unlawful to knowingly promote a gun to a convicted felon.
Earlier this yr, he additionally supported a invoice vetoed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage that may’ve prevented high-risk individuals, together with home abusers — or somebody who’s the topic of a safety from abuse or restraining order — from buying or possessing any firearms for a court-ordered time period.
Job creation and the financial system
Poliquin has pointed to Maine Division of Labor statistics displaying a 2.7 % statewide unemployment price in March and three.2 price in August — the bottom the state has seen in many years — as proof the general “economy is doing well.” However the jobless fee in Poliquin’s district is persistently greater, although it continues to drop steadily — some extent that Golden says alerts the financial system “isn’t doing that good.”
Final yr, the 2nd District unemployment fee hit four.5 %, in contrast with the remainder of the state’s common three.9 %, in accordance with U.S. Census Bureau knowledge. The median revenue within the principally rural, ageing district has traditionally lagged behind Maine’s 1st Congressional District, which incorporates Portland and southern coastal communities.
The disparity in median family revenue gaps between districts yr to yr tends to hover round $20,000. Final yr, the median revenue within the 2nd District was simply greater than $63,000, in contrast with almost $85,000 within the 1st District.
Touting it as a job creation software, Poliquin supported the Republican tax overhaul late final yr, which goals to scale back tax burdens on middle-class households. Critics of the invoice argued that it was only a approach to decrease company taxes and that it has did not translate to larger wages for many staff.
Poliquin pointed to his bipartisan position in serving to to safe — alongside U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins — the $17.three million Division of Protection contract on the New Stability manufacturing crops in Maine, as a part of a authorities requirement that each one army personnel have American-made uniforms and gear as proof of his position within the state’s job progress. However that federal requirement derives from a footwear-specific revision of the Berry Modification, which Poliquin’s predecessor, Democrat Mike Michaud, launched. Poliquin joined Democrats two years in the past in preventing off an effort by Republican Home members to intestine the Berry Modification.
Golden stated his strategy to bolstering the district’s financial system can be via urging the formation of extra unions as a way of accelerating wages, and by serving to the federal government foot the invoice for extra infrastructural investments that small companies house owners can use to assist construct their corporations, akin to broadband and renewable power.
“Our job is to make the investments businesses can’t,” Golden stated.
Well being care
The pair’s platform on well being care diverges maybe most dramatically. Through the Oct. eight debate, Poliquin accused Golden of making an attempt to push socialized drugs as a part of his “radical, risky scheme that will end private health care.”
Golden countered that Poliquin tried to strip Mainers of their entry to reasonably priced well being care when he voted to repeal the Reasonably priced Care Act.
Each have dismissed these claims as lies.
Golden voted for the state’s Medicaid enlargement — which stays in limbo due to authorized and State Home stalemates — and shifting towards a common well being care system. He additionally needs to drop the age to qualify for Medicare to 55, to permit clients paying excessive well being premiums to, as an alternative, purchase into Medicare. Normally, Golden believes authorities should fill the gaps in protection that exist within the present system, which mixes personal insurance policy with authorities protection for disabled and aged individuals.
Poliquin usually embraces market-based well being care plans, and he argues that a personal sector strategy to widen the competitors pool permits sufferers to buy round to seek out probably the most reasonably priced fee for them.
After being certainly one of solely three Home Republicans to vote towards a 2015 invoice that might have repealed the Reasonably priced Care Act, Poliquin in Might 2017 was the one member of Maine’s congressional delegation to vote to repeal the medical insurance program, also called Obamacare. Poliquin denied his vote to repeal as lately as final week in a narrative from WMTW-TV. When requested if he voted to repeal, he stated, “No, I voted for a replacement plan.”
He and different Republicans tried to switch it with the American Well being Care Act. Although the celebration’s effort finally failed within the Senate, it will have allowed states to drop sure safeguards for individuals with pre-existing circumstances, a pivot from the ACA, which protects these sufferers, partially, by stopping insurers from charging them extra.
The repeal invoice that Poliquin voted for was written in a approach that appeared to guard individuals with pre-existing circumstances. However well being coverage specialists contested that it will have allowed insurers to boost charges in different methods to make protection unaffordable for these individuals, lots of whom stay within the 2nd District. Greater than 56,000 Mainers would have misplaced reasonably priced insurance coverage protection and by 2022 beneath the AHCA, in line with an City Institute research.
The ultimate debate, which additionally consists of independents Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar, will probably be aired at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WAGM, the CBS and Fox affiliate in Presque Isle, and WMTW, the ABC affiliate within the Portland market.
For a roundup of Maine political information, click on right here for the Daily Temporary. Click on right here to get Maine’s solely publication on state politics by way of e mail on weekday mornings.
Comply with the Bangor Daily News on Fb for the newest Maine information.