Losing GOP Rep Calls For New Election If Runoff Results Aren’t Overturned

House Representative Bruce Poliquin speaks on capital hill
Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images for Make Room USA

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) has had his attorneys reach out to a federal judge in an attempt to order a new election in his congressional district if the current results are not overturned to declare him the winner, the Hill reported. His opponent, Jared Golden (D), was declared the winner earlier in the month through the ranked-choice balloting process.

The amended request was put in late on Tuesday night, following an initial request for a manual recount after Golden came out on top in the first counting of votes after the election.

U.S. District Judge Lance Walker will hold a hearing for the injunction of the ranked-choice system on December 5 and pointed out that he needs to reach a decision regarding a new election before December 14, when the deadline to certify results to the House rolls around.

After a tight race, Golden was declared the winner in a runoff. Following Poliquin’s latest stunt, Golden released a statement to say that his opponent is just trying to “drag out” a race that has already been decided through the democratic processes in place for exactly that reason.

“Mr. Poliquin must face facts: he lost, and Jared Golden will be seated on January 3. 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.”

This particular race between Golden and Poliquin was the first use of ranked balloting in a congressional election. The system means that candidates are ranked by voters from first to last. Because neither Golden nor Poliquin won a majority of the votes on the November 4 election day, the lowest-ranking candidates were removed and their votes reallocated to whichever candidate was ranked second on that ballot.

On November 15, after nearly 10 days of recounting with the ranked-choice ballot system, Golden pulled ahead and was declared the winner.

Shortly afterward, Poliquin filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the tabulation of ranked-choice ballots. He also argued that because he had received the most first-place ballots, he should be declared the winner regardless of the ranked-choice ballots. At that time, Walker ruled against him and decided that the counting of the ranked-choice ballots should continue as legally required.

Following Walker’s decision, a spokesman for Poliquin’s campaign said that the representative would proceed with his legal attempts to overturn the results based on “constitutional concerns.” The spokesman added that Poliquin had planned to address this even if he had won the recount with the ranked-choice ballot system.