In the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, Democrat incumbent Jared Golden is leading Republican challenger Dale Crafts by a solid 6 percent margin. But Golden was reluctant to declare victory before all of the votes were counted.
At Democratic headquarters in Lewiston, a small group of campaign staff sequestered themselves with Golden in an upstairs office to watch election returns come in. Golden, who declined to come down to meet with reporters during the night, issued a statement through his campaign manager, Margaret Reynolds, just after 1 a.m.
“This race is all but over…our numbers are looking good,” she said. “We are still waiting on results from Bangor, which we expect will further grow our margin. However, it would be in poor form to declare victory before those results have been tabulated.”
Golden is expected to have more to say on Wednesday. But Reynolds said it’s clear that he has earned the trust of voters in the 2nd District, who are known to be fickle about party loyalty.
Shortly after midnight, Crafts told gathered supporters at an election party in Lewiston that he would not concede the race, despite acknowledging Golden’s lead.
“Like I said, the numbers are not favorable to me for this race. But we fought a good fight. We’ll see what things look like in the morning. And we’ll take it from there,” he said.
Crafts, a businessman from Lisbon, was a strong supporter of President Donald Trump in a district that the president won by 10 points in 2016. But he faced an uphill challenge against Golden, an incumbent who has received endorsements from members of both parties, including former Republican U.S. Sen. William Cohen of Maine.