Guns become an early issue in Maine’s tight 2nd District race

Good day from Augusta. In this age of endless campaigning, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District has been nationally targeted for about five years straight and this year’s seemingly tight race is just now starting to take its own shape as the candidates war on gun rights.

It wasn’t surprising that U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a second-term Republican, won the endorsement of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a group that typically — though not exclusively — backs Republicans and often works with the conservative National Rifle Association on gun-rights issues.

However, it comes as Poliquin’s top opponent, Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, is trying to stake out his own territory on guns with a new television ad noting his Marine service and calling himself “a straight shooter” before hitting a target with a rifle.

Golden’s positions on guns stray only slightly from most in his party and the 2nd District sunk a 2016 background-check referendum. The rural 2nd District is gun-friendly, as evidenced by its role in sinking a background check referendum two years ago funded largely by a group linked to billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

When Golden announced his campaign last year, the NRA jumped to highlight his D grade with the organization, which was based in part on his 2016 vote against an NRA-lobbied bill that repealed Maine’s concealed-handgun permit requirement, pointing to Golden’s perceived “hostility” to gun rights. Poliquin has been twice endorsed by the NRA.

To read the rest of “Guns become an early issue in Maine’s tight 2nd District race,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer , please follow this link to the BDN online.

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