A political action committee aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan is seeking to bolster the re-election bid of two-term U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s sprawling 2nd District.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC, announced this week it was opening five offices in hotly contested GOP-held districts across the country, including Poliquin’s.

By putting boots on the ground, the group hopes to boost turnout for Poliquin, who faces a potentially stiff challenge from Democrats who see him as vulnerable. Four Democrats are vying in a June 12 primary for the chance to take on Poliquin in the November general election.

One of them, nonprofit executive Lucas St. Clair, said Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, “appears to be calling the shots on how Congressman Poliquin votes now that he is opening an office in the district.”

Brent Littlefield, a consultant for Poliquin, responded that St. Clair, state Rep. Jared Golden, Monroe builder Jonathan Fulford and other Democrats are working “on behalf of (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi to give her the ability to once again take over the U.S. House of Representatives.”

A super PAC can raise unlimited amounts of money and spend whatever it raises to support candidates it likes or oppose those it doesn’t. It can take money from corporations, unions and individual donors.


Last election cycle, it raised more than $33 million to support Republicans in its quest to “promote the values of the center-right majority in the House of Representatives and counter efforts on the left, like Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

Federal law requires that super PACs operate independently of the campaigns they support. That means the leadership fund can’t contribute to or plot with Poliquin’s campaign.

Pointing to what critics say is Poliquin’s record of avoiding confrontations with constituents who oppose him, St. Clair said voters who have been “met with locked doors and shifty answers” might have a better chance of talking with Ryan in his PAC’s new office than they do with their own congressman.

In addition to helping Poliquin, the fund is opening offices for field operations in four other House districts in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Washington.

The group has not said where it plans to open its Maine office.

Poliquin has represented the district since 2014. In the Nov. 6 general election, he will face the winner of the Democratic primary and independent Tiffany Bond, a lawyer.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin met recently for Ryan to sign paperwork to send to President Donald Trump on a bill to help Old Town’s economic development. (Provided photo)

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