Nov. 10—LEWISTON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden declared victory Thursday in his quest for a third term.
Golden told reporters at Democratic Party headquarters on Lisbon Street that he holds "a commanding lead" with nearly all the votes counted in the three-way contest.
The Lewiston resident said he has not heard from Republican challenger Bruce Poliquin, the man he unseated four years ago to claim Maine's 2nd District Congressional seat.
But, he said, "the final result is now undeniably clear" despite the necessity of going to a second round of ranked-choice voting next week.
Golden and many of his supporters said Thursday there is virtually no way Poliquin could get enough second-place votes from supporters of independent Tiffany Bond to win, given past history and polling that shows most of her backers likely picked Golden, 40, over the 69-year-old GOP challenger.
"We are very confident that our lead will hold" as counting continues, Golden said, and it will likely grow larger.
At this point, Golden holds a 48% to 45% lead in a race that saw more than 300,000 votes. About 95% of the votes cast have been counted.
Because Golden did not get more than half the votes, Maine's Secretary of State's Office plans next week to begin tallying the second round votes cast for Bond, who came in third with about 7%.
Poliquin could not be reached for comment. He has not issued any public statements since the election.
Golden, a Leeds native, said he is proud of "the positive, principles campaign we ran" and thanked his campaign and congressional staff for their work.
Golden said he has tried to serve all the people of the district and is "just a regular guy like anyone else."
Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said voters give Golden "a lot of credit for just being himself. He's sincere, relatable and just wants to help."
"Jared's been an effective representative for us in Washington, and I look forward to his next term," Sheline said.