ELLSWORTH — Maine’s 2nd Congressional District now how its own little etching in the history books.
On Thursday afternoon, Democrat Jared Golden was declared the victor in the race over Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin following the nation’s first use of ranked choice voting in a congressional election.
In a final tally of votes released by the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, Golden finished with 139,231 votes to Poliquin’s 136,362, giving Golden a slim 53.53 percent majority.
As predicted, Golden ultimately benefited from ranked choice voting far more than Poliquin. A total of 10,232 votes were transferred to Golden from independent candidates Tiffany Bond and William Hoar, while only 4,695 went to Poliquin.
More than 8,000 ballots did not come into play, as they had not designated a second choice.
Poliquin has said he will continue with a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ranked choice voting process.
“It is now officially clear I won the constitutional ‘one person, one vote’ first choice election on Election Day that has been used in Maine for more than 100 years,” said Poliquin in a public statement following the announcement of the results. “We will proceed with our constitutional concerns about the rank vote algorithm.”
Poliquin’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning, sought to suspend the ranked choice tabulation process, calling it unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker denied that request Thursday morning. In his ruling, however, Walker did leave open the possibility for further legal challenges.
Golden, a Marine Corps veteran and State House representative from Lewiston, is now the first congressman in to be elected under ranked choice voting. He is also the first person to defeat an incumbent in Maine’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District since 2016.