I wrote yesterday about how the incumbent Republican for Maine’s 2nd district Bruce Poliquin sued to stop the second and third choice votes of the third and fourth place candidates from being counted and argued that he should be declared the winner based on his plurality of just the first choice votes, where he had a slim 2,000 vote lead over Democratic challenger Jared Golden. He clearly seemed to think that the 23,000 second and third choice votes would go against him.
But earlier this morning, the federal judge overseeing the case refused to halt the counting and declare Poliquin the winner. Poliquin’s fears have since been realized because Golden has now been declared the winner.
Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race on Thursday following a historic tabulation of ballots using ranked-choice voting.
Golden, a Marine Corps veteran and state lawmaker from Lewiston, began the day roughly 2,000 votes behind incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin. But Golden surged past Poliquin by slightly less than 3,000 votes after the ranked-choice votes of two independents in the race were redistributed Thursday afternoon.
Of the second-choice votes redistributed Thursday, Golden received 10,232 while 4,695 went to Poliquin. More than 8,000 of the ballots cast for independents did not designate a second choice.
In his ruling US District Court judge Lance Walker emphasized the fact that Maine voters had twice endorsed ranked choice voting. Poliquin’s case against RCV will be heard next month. This is the first federal election run under the RCV system but there are many state and local races that use this system. Since the US constitution gives states broad leeway in how to conduct elections, I doubt that this lawsuit will succeed.
With Poliquin’s ouster, there is not a single Republican left in the entire New England region. Currently the House of Representatives stands at 230-198, a gain of 35 seats for the Democrats with seven races still not decided.