Maine 2nd District GOP Candidates Spar Over Support for Collins

Apr 21, 2014

The Raye for Congress campaign is demanding that 2nd District congressional primary rival Bruce Poliquin apologize for encouraging Republicans to vote Sen. Susan Collins out of office. Kevin Raye says Poliquin should be standing up for Collins instead of trying to elect her Democratic opponent, Shenna Bellows.

In the past, Republican primary opponents for Maine's 2nd Congressional District haven't been shy about expressing their criticisms of each other or the political system. But they usually draw a line at recommending that disgruntled voters should elect Democrats instead.

Yet, when an audience member at a Thursday evening candidate's debate in Machias rose to criticize Sen. Susan Collins' performance in office, congressional hopeful Bruce Poliquin (right) agreed, saying he shared the speaker's frustration.

"We have career politicians who are afraid to solve tough problems," Poliquin said. "I'm a businessperson trying to solve problems. I agree with you - we ought to fire them all."

Poliquin went on to say that the audience member will have the chance to fire career politicans when he steps into the voting booth.

Kevin Raye, Poliquin's 2nd District GOP primary opponent, said he can't believe Poliquin would advocate that Collins be fired only days before the Republican State Convention in Bangor.

"I was thoroughly shocked that my opponent would make such an unjustified and divisive statement," Raye said.

Raye says Collins is a huge boost for all Maine Republican as the party's top-of-the-ticket candidate, and that Poliquin owes the Maine's senior senator an apology.

Raye says Collins is a huge boost for all Maine Republicans as the party's top-of-the-ticket candidate, and that Poliquin owes Maine's senior senator an apology.

At the Poliquin campaign, Matt Hutson says he was at the Thursday evening event and that Raye was mischaracterizing Poliquin's remarks and taking them out of context. And Hutson says that doesn't speak well for the Raye campaign.

"I think it's a sign of how desperate he is, for the same reason that he's pushing his polling that says he's the only candidate that can win in November," Hutson said. "Because the reality is when you look at it, he did the same thing back in 2012 when he ran for Congress the second time and lost then then, too."

Hutson said as a three-time candidate for the 2nd District, Raye is the kind of career politician that Poliquin was talking about.