Maine Democrats appeared ready to nominate legislator and Iraq War veteran Jared Golden in the state’s rural 2nd Congressional District, which had slipped away from the party in 2014 and grown more Republican since.
With 65 percent of precincts reporting, Golden was winning around 50 percent of the vote over Lucas St. Clair, an environmentalist whose family founded the Burt’s Bees skin care company, and a third candidate.
In the state’s new “ranked choice” electoral system, if any candidate fails to secure a majority of the vote, the second preferences of losing candidates will be added to their total. If voting patterns held through the night, just a hundred or so of Democrat Craig Olson’s voters would be needed to push Golden over the top — if he did not win outright.
A Golden victory would please national Democrats, who worried that St. Clair would be pigeonholed as a wealthy carpetbagger with loose ties to the district. But the primary had proven to be draining for both candidates, with Golden reporting just $116,125 left in funds last month. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R), who won the seat in 2014 and expanded his winning margin in 2016, has stockpiled nearly $2.4 million for the general election.