Democrats haven't been able to crack the code in Maine's blue-collar 2nd CD since Rep. Mike Michaud left to run for governor in 2014. Once a Democratic bastion, the district swung hard to GOP Gov. Paul LePage in 2014 and President Trump in 2016, and Republican Bruce Poliquin defied expectations. But Marine veteran and state Rep. Jared Golden's entry into the 2018 field gives Democrats hope they can capitalize on a favorable political environment.
For two cycles in a row, Poliquin was able to portray Democrat Emily Cain as an elite liberal funded by out-of-state interests whose voting record in the state legislature was too far left for the district. That could be harder to do with Golden, 35, who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before winning a seat in the state House. Golden served as a staffer to GOP Sen. Susan Collins and unlike Cain, he grew up in the district.
Republicans have already signaled they will go after several of Golden's gun votes in the legislature, and Golden comes across a bit green in his obligatory introductory video. But Democrats will certainly attack Poliquin's vote for the GOP healthcare bill, which they claim would have cut funding for rural hospitals. Despite Trump's showing here, Democrats are encouraged by early polling. The race moves to the Lean Republican column.
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