Maine governor certifies contentious congressional race with ‘stolen election’ note

Clark Mindock

The Republican governor of Maine has certified Democrat Jared Golden as the winner in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, but in one last jab he wrote “stolen election” next to his signature on the form.

Governor Paul LePage’s signature officially caps off a contentious race for the district in the state in the November elections, which switched in favour of Mr Golden from the Republican after successive rounds of voting during the state’s historic foray into ranked choice voting.

“I’ve signed off on the CD2 election result as it’s no longer in federal court. Ranked Choice Voting didn’t result in a true majority as promised-simply a plurality measured differently,” Mr LePage wrote in a tweet accompanying a picture of the certificate. “It didn’t keep big money out of politics & didn’t result in a more civil election”.

Maine is the first state to use ranked choice voting for a national office, and the results attracted a near immediate lawsuit from Republican Representative Bruce Poliquin.

The Republican had initially led the field after the first round of votes were tallied, but failed to attract a majority of votes.

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Once the third and fourth place votes had been redistributed — voters had been given the option to rank their choices, so ballots for candidates who were mathematically unable to win after the first count were then rearranged — Mr Golden had won 50.5 per cent of the vote.

Mr Poliquin’s legal challenge to those results was thrown out by a federal court, and the now-outgoing congressman conceded the race this week. Maine voters had approved the ranked-choice system.

Mr Golden said in an email that Mr LePage’s characterization of the results were “wrong” in an email sent to the Portland Press Herald.

“Maine people are tired of this kind of poor leadership — which is why they voted for change in November,” Mr Golden said.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, won her bid for the governor’s mansion during the 2018 election.