Bruce Poliquin stops short of a concession in congressional race

Nov. 14—While stopping short of conceding his defeat in last week's 2nd Congressional District race in Maine, Republican congressional challenger Bruce Poliquin urged Democrats "to show compassion by starting to fix the mess they created."

"Give our fellow Mainers hope by not inflicting any further pain on suffering families and small businesses," Poliquin said in a message posted on Facebook on Sunday.

Poliquin trails by a wide margin in his bid to unseat two-term Democrat Jared Golden, a Lewiston representative with a nearly insurmountable lead heading into this week's count of second round votes cast in the ranked-choice election that saw independent Tiffany Bond capture about 7% of the tally.

Golden last week claimed victory, saying his 48-45 margin in the first round was too large for Poliquin to have any hope of winding up as the victor.

Poliquin's statement over the weekend did not dispute the math.

"Regardless of how this week's rank choice ballot counting ends up for my race," Poliquin said, "President Joe Biden and the Democrats continue to control all the levers of power in Washington until noon on Jan. 3 when the new Republican majority in the U.S. House is sworn in."

The Maine Democratic Party did not respond Monday to requests for comment on Poliquin's suggestion.

At this point, though, it is not a certainty that the GOP won control of the next session of the U.S. House. It appears that it's going to be a close split between the two parties, with most experts saying the Republicans appear likely to hold the upper hand as the rest of the votes are counted in close districts.

Poliquin, a 69-year-old retired investment expert, said the Democrats in any case are in charge for a couple more months.

"They alone decide when Congress meets and what legislation is considered," said Poliquin, who held the congressional seat from 2014 to 2018, when Golden defeated him.

Poliquin said the Democrats should use that time to "give our fellow Mainers hope by not inflicting any further pain on suffering families and small businesses."

He repeated many of his positions during the campaign, from reversing Biden's student loan forgiveness plan to securing the border with Mexico.

"Biden, Pelosi, Golden and the Democrats should put politics aside and use some common sense to do what's right while they wield all the authority," he said. "Maine seniors and families are hurting and winter is just around the corner."

"Get to work and show some compassion the next couple months," Poliquin said.

Poliquin also used his first public comment since Election Day to send "heartfelt THANK YOUs to our hundreds of hard-working campaign volunteers throughout Maine! We couldn't do it without you. Again, THANK YOU!"

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State began counting ballots Monday, starting with Aroostook County towns.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said ballots will be fed into tabulators that are not connected to the internet and "cannot be hacked."

The ranked-choice reallocation will take place once all of the ballots in the district are counted.

It is unlikely Poliquin won the overwhelming support of Bond voters in the second round of the tallying, which is what it would take for him to win.

Four years ago, when the same three candidates were on the ballot, Bond voters broke heavily in favor of Golden in round two.