Update: Poliquin enters race for Congress

Update Monday morning, August 24: On the Voice of Maine this morning, Bruce Poliquin made it official saying that he is running for Congress in Maine’s second congressional district. He said he would be filing the paperwork on Tuesday morning.

In perhaps the least surprising news of this political season, former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin made calls at the end of last week letting people know that he will be announcing his intention to run for Maine’s second congressional district on the WVOM radio show Monday morning. For those spending more time this summer enjoying the Maine outdoors than following politics (I wish I were you!), Congressman Mike Michaud has decided to vacate said congressional seat to run for Governor.

The interesting question about this announcement, besides the questions of whether Bruce has actually secured residency in a district he has not lived in for at least 15 years, is why in the world is he doing it on Monday and why on right wing radio?

First of all, he is doing it in the middle of the GOP controversy around Gov Paul LePage’s comments. To that end, if the radio interviewer is worth his salt, Bruce will have to answer tough questions about this latest uproar. Do you believe the Governor said them or not? If he did, do you consider the comment innapropriate? How do you feel about those Republicans who called the Governor out? Was the apology enough? When he does, I am quite sure his answers will get prominent play in the articles written about his announcement. And since there is no good response, why put yourself in that position?

Second, there is a special election on Tuesday in state senate district 19. This race is pivotal for Republicans if they want to win back the senate and change the downward trajectory of the party. His announcement will only distract and that is one thing Republicans don’t need right now. Announcing on Monday shows that the campaign is unaware (or uncaring) of other needs in the Republican party.

Third, a radio show? You couldn’t find a factory that needs help where you could talk about jobs? A school that is run down so you can show you care about education? A middle class family’s home that is supporting you because you did something to help their daughter?

Now, I get it that the folks who listen to talk radio are pretty conservative (lord knows I field their crazy calls when I host on WGAN) and talking to them is important in a Republican primary. But every radio station in Maine will be willing to do an interview with you once you announce. You should be holding a press conference where you can give a speech and outline your agenda in a location that is symbolic of what you do in Congress.

Anyway, far be it from me to offer political advice to a tea party conservative, but if I were Bruce I would tell him to wait until after Labor Day. The reaction to the Governor’s comments will have died down and the special election will be over. And, for goodness sake, announce in a way that shows us what you stand for, not that you are simply sucking up to a right wing radio audience.

Posted by Ethan Strimling