U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) said he is not weighing in on Donald Trump because that is not part of what voters in the Second Congressional District wanted him to do when they elected him two years ago. Poliquin is in a rematch of the 2014 campaign with Democrat Emily Cain. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY TIM SUELLENTROP, REACH MAINE MARKETING

Poliquin: Not my job to weigh in on Trump

ELLSWORTH — U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) said Tuesday that he is not weighing-in on his party’s presidential candidate because that is not why Mainers sent him to Washington.

“They didn’t hire me to do that,” said Poliquin, referring to his constituents in the Second Congressional District.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, has proven to be a divisive figure not only among the general electorate but also within his own party — including the top Republicans in Maine.

Susan Collins, Maine’s senior senator, announced in an op-ed in early August that she will not be voting for Trump. She said Trump “does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.”

Governor Paul LePage, meanwhile, has appeared alongside Trump at campaign events in Maine. On Tuesday morning, the Governor spoke to radio hosts George Hale and Ric Tyler and reiterated his support for Trump.

“I would rather listen to him sticking his foot in his mouth than having Hillary [and] her hand in my pocket,” LePage said, calling the New York businessman and his political outsider persona a “breath of fresh air.”

Poliquin has been noticeably noncommittal on the subject of Trump. At a stop at the New Balance shoe company in Skowhegan earlier Tuesday, recorded on video by the Kennebec Journal, Poliquin was asked if he supports Trump’s candidacy, if he will appear with him at any campaign events and whether Trump should drop out of the race.

Poliquin deflected the questions, talking instead about how proud he is to represent the people who live in the Second Congressional District. In both Skowhegan and Ellsworth, he told reporters he was not interested in getting involved in what he called a “media circus” surrounding the presidential election.

The Trump rift among Republicans deepened over the weekend after video and audio from 2005 surfaced, in which Trump said lewd and vulgar things about women.

That prompted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to say he would no longer campaign with or defend Trump and would instead focus on defending his party’s majority in the House of Representatives.

Poliquin, for his part, told The American on Tuesday that he is focused on helping constituents address matters that they need help with and tackling big issues such as the national debt and securing the country’s borders.

“I don’t think it’s part of the job for me to get involved in a presidential campaign,” he said.

Poliquin has not refrained entirely, however, from commenting on the contest for who will become the next commander in chief. In a statement posted Saturday on his campaign Twitter account, Poliquin said “Donald Trump’s comments were repulsive,” but said he also found it “disturbing” that Hillary Clinton “lied to the public” on subjects including open borders and trade.

“It appears she’ll say anything to get elected,” Poliquin said.

Poliquin also is focused on getting re-elected and defeating his Democratic challenger, Emily Cain, whom he bested in 2014 by five points (47 percent to 42 percent). While earlier polls suggested a close race between the two, more recent polling done in September showed Poliquin with a 10-point lead over Cain.

Poliquin said he is proud of his record in Washington and cited his work to help wormers and clam diggers address concerns about addressing tidal flats in Acadia National Park as an example of how he helps residents in the district.

He said he has created jobs in the private sector and now works to help preserve and protect jobs in his capacity as congressman. He said that stands in contrast to Cain.

“She doesn’t understand how to create jobs,” Poliquin said. “She’s never done it.”

Poliquin cited issues including whether to accept refugees from the Middle East (he is opposed), a carbon tax (also opposed) and the Iran nuclear deal (strongly opposed — “It’s a horrible deal”) as other examples of how he differs from Cain.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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