When U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin filed an appeal this week for an injunction to stop Maine officials from certifying the results of the 2nd District congressional election, his attorneys asked judges in Boston to issue the order by Friday.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals gave its answer Friday: No.

Its denial leaves Poliquin with a pending appeal, but no way to stop Lewiston Democrat Jared Golden from taking office Jan. 3 as Poliquin’s successor.

Poliquin is appealing a 30-page decision last week by U.S. District Judge Lance Walker in Bangor that eviscerated the legal arguments presented by Poliquin and several Mainers who voted for him that sought to torpedo ranked-choice voting with claims it is unconstitutional.

Poliquin gave up on the only other potential avenue for knocking out Golden when he pulled the plug on a recount he had insisted on after officials had counted about half the ballots without finding any significant changes in the 3,500-vote margin for the Democrat.

The secretary of state’s office determined this week that Poliquin owes nearly $15,000 for the cost of the recount since it did not change the outcome.

Poliquin’s hopes of holding onto the U.S. House seat he won in 2014 hang by the thinnest of threads at this point, dependent solely upon whether an appeals court will throw out Walker’s ruling and agree that Maine’s new voting system for federal races is illegal.

There doesn’t appear to be any way Poliquin, a Republican, can prevent Golden from taking the oath of office Jan. 3 when the new congressional session gets underway, given that the House will be under Democratic control.

But if Poliquin can convince a court that ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional, judges might agree on a remedy such as a new election that could lead to Golden’s ouster.

Golden, though, said he’s not worried about it. He said he’s sure he will be in his seat on Capitol Hill when the session starts and that the legal wrangles won’t have any impact.

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In this file photo, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin speaks at a news conference Nov. 13 in Augusta. (Associated Press/Robert F. Bukaty)

The court order issued Friday by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.


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