The New Republic Quotes Adam Cote and Toby McGrath on Jared Golden's Record of Voting Against His Own Party

Meet the Only House Dem Who Voted—Again—Against His Party, The New Republic
Written by Daniel Strauss

In Maine, Golden has cultivated an identity as a loner within the Democratic Party. He’s viewed as having his own legislating compass and representing his district, conservative as it is. “I think he’s the type of person that he does what he thinks is right and he does what he thinks [is right] for his district, and if that doesn’t match up with the party then he’s okay with it. It certainly isn’t an act,” Adam Cote, a Maine attorney and former Democratic candidate for governor, said. “It is in line with his district’s view, which, recall, it voted pretty heavily for Trump.”

Maine Democrats like Cote give Golden a break similar to the one Democrats across the country give Manchin (when they do): that only Golden could hang on to this seat. In 2018 he beat incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin narrowly, with about 50 percent of the vote to Poliquin’s 49 percent. He did so because Maine introduced ranked-choice voting that year, which helped him win. In 2020, Golden beat Republican Dale Crafts more comfortably, 53 percent to 47 percent. Golden won reelection in a year when Trump won the district with 52 percent of the vote. Politico described Golden’s seat as the “Trumpiest” one in the country held by a Democrat.

Even with favorable redistricting changes to the district (essentially Golden’s district now includes Augusta, bringing a slightly more Democratic group of voters with it ), Golden’s elections will always be close. Poliquin is running again in 2022, and every hard-fought Democratic congressional seat will be in danger in a midterm when Republicans are expected to make dramatic gains. Golden is one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline Program members -essentially the group of lawmakers whose races need extra attention and support because of how easily Republicans could win them.

“That seat has always been tough,” Toby McGrath, a former campaign manager to Senator Angus King, said. “Growing up in that area is important. Who he is as a veteran, signing up after 9/11 and becoming a Marine and went to college after. He was like a 27-year-old veteran at Bates College. That’s not usual.” McGrath said he believed only someone like Golden could keep the seat.

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