Outside spending begins against Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin greets supporters in Oakland after winning November's election. BDN file photo by Jeff Pouland.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin greets supporters in Oakland after winning the election in 2014. BDN file photo by Jeff Pouland.

A liberal group linked to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California has kicked off outside spending against U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican from Maine’s 2nd U.S. House District who’s up for re-election next year.

The House Majority PAC, a super PAC that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence races, has spent more than $126,000 against Poliquin so far, according to federal election records.

Just less than a year from Election Day in 2016, this is a remarkable amount of money: Outside groups have only begun spending in 15 congressional districts, and only New York’s 11th district — the most conservative part of New York City — has seen more spending so far this year.

The PAC’s spending total so far includes costs for ads airing on television and online and a smaller direct mail campaign. Their first ad against the freshman from Oakland went online last week, and it hits him for his background as an investment manager in New York City and his contribution totals from the financial sector.

All of this attention reflects the 2nd District’s targeted status: Last week, Roll Call named Poliquin one of the 10 most vulnerable House members. Democrat Emily Cain, who lost to Poliquin last year, is facing Joe Baldacci in a primary for the 2016 nomination.

Democrats are counting on the 2016 electorate being different than last year’s was: The 2nd District, though it’s more rural and conservative than the rest of Maine, has voted for the Democrat in every presidential election since 1992.

But Poliquin has acquitted himself well in the fundraising department so far. He raised $1.6 million through September, more than double what Cain and Baldacci brought in, combined.

Brent Littlefield, Poliquin’s political adviser, said Democrats are spending money in the district because they know that Poliquin is “well-liked and appreciated in the district and has carved out an independent voice to fight for jobs,” highlighting swing votes on trade and the Export-Import Bank.

“It’s indicative of, unfortunately, what Maine people are probably going to endure from that side over the next year,” he said.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.