While more and more of his Democratic colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives call for Congress to begin looking into the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump, a first-term Maine Democrat took a stand in opposition this week.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a first-term Democrat, is one of the few members of the House of Representatives from New England who is not seeking the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a 2nd District Democrat from Lewiston, said he believes doing so “would unleash an era of even greater divisiveness in our country — one from which we might not return.”

Golden is one of the few members of the House from New England who is not seeking a move toward impeachment. Among those who have spoken in favor of taking that step is U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat.

Pingree called the report from Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated alleged ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, “a turning point” that convinced her the time had come to begin an impeachment inquiry.

According to a tally in Politico, 107 House Democrats have spoken in favor of proceeding with a possible impeachment of the president for obstruction of justice and other alleged misdeeds, just 11 shy of a majority in the 235-member House Democratic Caucus.

So far, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has held the line against members of her party eager to begin the process, but she may soon face a majority of Democrats insisting on action.

Golden, though, said he will not be among them.

In an op-ed that appeared in Sunday’s Sun Journal, Golden said he will “put the unity of our country first” as he tries to tamp down the partisan warfare that was “on full display” during Mueller’s testimony before two House committees last week.

“Many lawmakers took this as yet another opportunity to harden their respective positions, with some Democrats renewing calls for impeachment, and some Republicans trumpeting their claim that the Russia investigation was a failed partisan witch hunt,” Golden wrote.

The first-term lawmaker said “lost in the made-for-TV media spectacle was the fundamental finding” by Mueller that Russia “launched a concerted attack on our election system in an effort to undermine our democracy and inflame political division.”

He said the Russians “largely achieved their goal” because “our political division has become an exercise in tribalism — an endless cycle of outrage, division and gridlock.”

“Rather than uniting as a country against a foreign adversary’s effort to breed mistrust and conflict, we are playing into their hands, becoming so consumed by partisan fights that we can’t see the forest for the trees,” Golden said.

Golden said Mueller’s report “revealed a pattern of conduct beneath the office of the presidency: poor judgement, efforts to exert undue influence over an investigation and attempts to obstruct justice,” but it did not provide enough information “to reveal the intent” behind Trump’s actions.

He said his position is “grounded in common sense” given a Republican-controlled Senate would not act against the president.

Beyond that, though, Golden said he thinks the impeachment proceedings some seek would “deliberately tear at the already fraying fabric of our national unity, even though we know such efforts would fail.”

Golden said he loves the country too much “to contribute to a process that would incite further division rather than healing.”

Few House Democrats have taken a similar stand.

One of them, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, told National Public Radio this weekend it would be a mistake to head into the election next year “saying that our biggest result here in our tenure in two years was that we had a failed impeachment process.”

“I think we have to do it carefully because we don’t want to split the entire nation apart literally almost, you know, to the point that people aren’t speaking to each other, which is where we are now,” Van Drew said.

Golden is seeking reelection in 2020. So far, he does not have an official opponent, but Republican Eric Brakey of Auburn appears a likely challenger.