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Will New England States (Like Maine) Again Have A Republican in Congress?

October 28, 2014

There are many reasons to be watching and waiting as the election returns are counted and reported next week.  One of the hopes for the GOP is that they can again have at least a couple Republican congresspeople from the New England states.

Not a single Republican represents a New England state in the House, contributing to the region’s reputation as a bastion of liberalism. But this year, independent analysts say, Republicans have a shot at picking up as many as six seats in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

Maine’s second congressional district, which comprises a large swath of the central and northern part of the state, represents another opportunity for the GOP. The Cook Political Report recently moved the race from “leans Democratic’’ into the more competitive “tossup” category.

It is that race in Maine that I have been following and like so many other elections around the nation this one is a dead-heat.  This morning the latest numbers on the race were released and show every vote will count in this match-up between

Republican Bruce Poliquin has inched closer to Democrat Emily Cain in the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, according to a poll released Tuesday by a Portland firm.

A survey of 186 voters by Pan Atlantic SMS Group gave Cain, a state senator from Orono, 39 percent support to 38 percent for Poliquin, a former state treasurer from Oakland. 

Independent conservative Blaine Richardson of Belfast got 8 percent, with 16 percent undecided.

That sample size isn’t ideal, with an error margin of approximately 7 percent. But Poliquin has moved up since Pan Atlantic polled the race last month. Then, Cain led Poliquin with 36 percent of support to 32 percent for Poliquin. Richardson got 6 percent.

However, other results have put Poliquin slightly ahead in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat running for governor.

As might be expected the national health care issue is playing out in this race and guess what the conservative Republican candidate is wishing to happen?

The context: The 2nd District has long had higher rates of people without health insurance than the rest of Maine. According to Census estimates for 2013, 85,000 people were uninsured there, about 8,000 more than in the 1st District.

Cain is a supporter of the health care law and, like many in her party, would support a single-payer, universal health care system.

“We have great models, whether it’s in veterans’ benefits in health care or in Medicare itself,” she said at a debate during the primary season. “We have models that show us when more people are covered, costs are lower.”

Poliquin has called for repeal of the health care law, but he has said he supports parts of it.

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