In late August, 2017, Jared Golden, the Assistant Majority Leader of Maine's House of Representatives, declared his candidacy for the only New England congressional seat then held by a Republican-- Bruce Poliquin-- ME-02, the district Trump won the year before. Jared grew up in Leeds, Maine, a small dairy town of about 2,000 people. He served four years in the U.S. Marines with combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He attended Bates College after the Marines and later returned to Afghanistan as a volunteer teacher. First elected to the state legislature in 2014 to represent Lewiston in the Maine House of Representatives, he rose to the position of House Majority whip. Golden won the primary against a rich establishment guy 52.2% to 43.9% and then went on to narrowly beat Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin 142,440 (50.6%) to 138,931 (49.4%). Golden spent $5,585,986 to Poliquin's $3,965,541 and outside independent spending favors Golden, nearly $8 million to $5.7 million.
Last year, the Republicans ran a weak candidate against him and Golden won 197,974 (53.0%) to 175,228 (47.0%), outspending the Republican $5,233,990 to $1,196,117. Trump won the district 196,692 (52.3%) to 168,696 (44.8%), Golden outpolling not just Biden but also Trump.
In 2018, Golden ran as a progressive-- both in the primary and in the general. in a guest post he solicited Blue America contributions by writing that he planned to make his race "an example of how Democrats can win back districts that have gotten away from the party... My part of the country has been hit hard. Free trade deals that benefit CEO’s but not workers have led to mill closures and the loss of good paying jobs. The opioid epidemic is growing out of control. The poverty rate among Maine children has grown at eight times the national average in recent years. I’ve seen what happens when our rigged economic system leaves people behind... My district voted for both Bernie Sanders in the primary and Donald Trump in the general to send a message that the political establishment in both parties has let them down. They want action on infrastructure, jobs, and health care-- and they are tired of hearing politicians talk without walking the walk to protect their interests in Washington.
We need to have the courage to stand by our progressive values while meeting people where they are to engage with them about how we can work together to make real progress.
My campaign is going to relentlessly focus on economic issues: creating jobs with investments in infrastructure, from transportation and public works to renewable energy; strengthening organized labor because as they’ve declined so have wages; opposing trade deals that benefit our neighbors to the north and south more than they do us; pushing for Medicare coverage for all and a fair tax code that benefits the working class.
Last week, Golden was one of just two Democrats-- the other being Oregon anti-minimum wage reactionary Kurt Schrader-- to vote against the COVID-rescue package. He's using it back home to show how "independent" he is, although Maine Democrats were horrified by his vote. He told constituents that "The real question for me is the timeliness of it. Is it necessary today? Or can we wait and re-evaluate this economy four or five or six months from now?" A former staffer for Susan Collins, Golden used GOP rhetoric against the bill, repeating their talking points that the spending in the bill is not targeted and adding: "Let's spend exactly what's necessary in the context of the moment. Rather than just saying, 'Let's throw as much at it as we have the political will and votes to do.'" He singled out the child tax credit as wasteful and literally said it would have been better with input from Republicans! WMTW reported that:
Though an estimated 90% of Maine taxpayers could receive new $1,400 stimulus checks in the new bill, Golden said the eligibility ceiling is too high-- for individuals earning up to $75,000, $150,000 for married couples, and phased-down checks for households earning up to $200,000.
Golden said, “It is a waste to send a third round of government checks to wealthy individuals making almost three times the average household salary in Maine’s Second Congressional District.”
Later in an afternoon news conference over Zoom, Golden added: “To send checks out, you know, just because it’s politically popular, to someone who’s bringing home $175,000-- that’s like the wealthiest 2% in our state. It’s just not necessary. I’ve had people say to me, ‘Jared, don’t send me a check, I’m doing good, I got my job and my paycheck, give the money to someone who needs it.’”
Besides questioning much of the new spending, Golden objects to the partisan maneuver known as “reconciliation” to accelerate the bill’s passage, particularly through the Senate, where a 51-vote simple majority is sufficient for on budget matters.
The reaction to Golden's perfidy came a couple days later when the DCCC announced they would increase the amount of financial assistance they would allocate to him to win again in 2022, presumably against a primary opponent as well as against a Republican in the general. The DCCC also announced a series of a new ads targeting Republicans who voted against the same COVID-rescue package that Golden voted against, like the one up top savaging Mike Garcia (R-CA) and this one attacking Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA):
The DCCC is also going after David Valadao (R-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Michelle Steel (R-CA), Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), Don Bacon (R-NE), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and John Katko (R-NY). Just asking for a friend, but is it the height of hypocrisy for Sean Patrick Maloney to authorize the release of these ads within hours of announcing he would authorize spending extra money to protect Golden for doing the exact same thing the ads were attacking?