Losing GOP rep wants new election if results aren't overturned

Losing GOP rep wants new election if results aren't overturned
© Camille Fine

Attorneys for Rep. Bruce PoliquinBruce Lee PoliquinMaking the case for ranked-choice voting The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Maine governor certifies Dem's win in disputed House race, but calls it 'stolen election' MORE (R-Maine) are asking a federal judge to order a new election in his congressional district if Poliquin is not declared the winner of the race, which was called for his opponent through a ranked-choice balloting process.

The Bangor Daily News reported that representatives for Poliquin made the request in an amended complaint late Tuesday after the lawmaker's attorneys initially asked for a hand recount in his race against Jared Golden (D).

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U.S. District Judge Lance Walker will hold a hearing for the injunction of the ranked-choice system on Dec. 5, according to the newspaper, which added that he is required to issue a decision prior to the Dec. 14 deadline to certify results to the House.

Golden was declared the winner earlier this month, ousting Poliquin in a runoff.

Golden said in a statement responding to Poliquin’s call for a recount that the congressman was "dragging out" an election that had been decided.

"Mr. Poliquin must face facts: he lost, and Jared Golden will be seated on January 3," he said. "For the good of Maine’s people, it’s time for Bruce to move on and assist Congressman-elect Golden’s staff in an orderly transition."

Poliquin's race against Golden was the first use of ranked balloting in a congressional election. Under the system, voters rank candidates from first to last.

Neither Poliquin nor Golden won a majority of votes on Election Day. As a result, the lowest-finishing candidates were eliminated and their votes were reallocated to whoever was ranked second on those ballots.

Golden narrowly pulled ahead in the race based on the distribution of ranked-choice votes and was declared the winner on Nov. 15.

Poliquin filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the tabulation of ranked-choice ballots and arguing he should be declared the winner since he received the most first-place votes. Walker ruled against his efforts and allowed the vote count to proceed.

A spokesman for Poliquin's campaign said at the time that the representative would proceed with “constitutional concerns” about the ranked-choice system even if he had won reelection.