Oct. 11—As he gears up for a campaign to try to regain the 2nd District congressional seat he lost in 2018, Republican Bruce Poliquin is eyeing a move to “the Bangor area.”
Poliquin has lived for years in a seaside mansion in Georgetown, in Maine’s 1st District, but maintained his residency on family property in the town of Oakland, just outside Waterville, during his two terms in the U.S. House.
He has since sold the Oakland house and is now looking for another place in the district he hopes to represent after the 2022 election if he defeats U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a two-term Lewiston Democrat.
Poliquin told WVOM radio recently that with such a sprawling district, the job requires a lot of long-distance driving, often at night and in bad weather “so I’m relocating to the Bangor area.”
“This makes much more sense to be able to better serve my constituents if the voters want me back, and I hope they will and I expect they will,” he said. “I’ll be able to better do it from the Bangor area.”
His proposed move failed to impress state Rep. Mike Perkins, an Oakland Republican who is taking on Poliquin in a primary for his party’s backing.
Since Poliquin lives in the 1st District, Perkins asked why he doesn’t run against U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a North Haven Democrat.
Perkins said he lives in “my little home in the woods” while Poliquin has a $3.5 million coastal estate two which almost nobody in the hardscrabble 2nd District can relate.
“He’s got money,” Perkins said. “He can sit at home and twiddle his thumbs.”
Perkins, who calls himself “an average Joe,” said voters in the blue collar district are more in sync with candidates who work seven days a week, mow their own lawns and understand the daily difficulties that most Mainers face.
“I walk the talk and I live it,” said Perkins, who has resided in the district his entire life except for a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force decades ago.
He said he understands that Poliquin thinks he can relate to regular Mainers because he grew up in Oakland. But, Perkins said that using that logic “I can relate to the pope because I go to church.”
The law doesn’t require members of Congress to live in the districts they represent. They merely need to reside in the same state.
Perhaps hoping to help Poliquin by moving his opponent out of the district, Republicans flirted with moving Oakland into the 1st District as part of the recent redistricting that shifted some towns in Kennebec County from one district to the other in the wake of the census. In the end, though, the town stayed in the 2nd District.
Perkins said that while he hopes to snatch the GOP nomination from Poliquin, he’ll back his opponent if he comes up short in the primary.
“All I want to do is have a Republican win,” Perkins said. Meanwhile, though, it’s “game on” to pull off an upset, he said.
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