For months, money has been pouring into Maine as Democrats hoped to knock off Rep. Bruce Poliquin. In fact, as of November 4th, the state’s 2nd Congressional District had been subject to more than $12 million in outside spending.
This represents yet another instance where outside spending outpaced what the candidates themselves were able to raise, with the top 2 contenders, Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden, raising a combined $8,342,698 for the October 17th filing period.
Among the incredible outside spending came significant dark money from the left-leaning Patriot Majority USA ($2.3 million). The group funded an ad attacking Poliquin on pre-existing conditions coverage, interestingly using the phrase “folks around here” referring to Mainers despite the group being based in Washington, DC. Patriot Majority USA operates as a 501c4 and does not disclose its donors.
As a whole, Maine voters saw more political TV ads than any other state- an astounding 26 per hour according to one study. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/dark-money-helps-fuel-litany-campaign-ads-maine-153447712–election.html)
Beyond the intense spending- including dark money- Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is of interest to reform advocates as it appears set to turn to voters’ 2nd choice to determine the winner.
Maine is utilizing ranked-choice voting this election cycle, and the race currently stands with Poliquin claiming 126,634 (46%), Golden holding 125,746 (45.7%), and the 2 other candidates combining for 22,632 (8.2%). Voters were empowered to vote for the 2 minor candidates- that most closely aligned with their views- knowing that they would be granted a voice through their 2nd choice.
Now, those 2nd choices are set to decide this election.
The 2nd Congressional District of Maine underscores a problem with the current system as well as a possible solution, and it holds great interest to us. What do you think? Are you concerned about the dark money? Do you support ranked choice voting? Join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/takebackorg/.