Since U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett, a Colorado Democrat, dropped out of the presidential race shortly after Maine’s 2nd District congressman endorsed him, Jared Golden has refrained from backing anyone else.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden speaking in Maine last spring. AP Photo/David Sharp, File

But with Maine Democrats heading into a primary Tuesday, the Lewiston Democrat broke his silence on the issue Friday.

Golden said he’s still not ready to endorse anyone else, but he did have a message for voters trying to make up their minds: Don’t choose former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

“The Mainers I talk to tell me that what they care about — and what our country needs — is a leader who stands up for them. Whether it’s getting special interests out of our politics, respecting the will of voters, or understanding rural communities — one candidate fails on all counts: Michael Bloomberg,” Golden said in a prepared statement.

“I don’t think we need another presidential nominee who tries to purchase political influence or an election, and I don’t have much tolerance for Bloomberg’s efforts to undermine the will of Maine voters by spending money in our state last year advocating for a gun proposal my constituents had already explicitly rejected at the ballot box in 2016,” the first-term congressman said. “It’s safe to say he will not get my vote next week.”

The Bloomberg campaign responded with a statement from two Maine Democrats who have served in the U.S. House, Mike Michaud and Tom Allen. They said that polling has shown Bloomberg “is the only candidate who can defeat Donald Trump, and ensure victories up and down the ballot in Maine.”

“His detailed plans for rural Maine and America include investing in agriculture, strengthening rural health care, and improving infrastructure and broadband connectivity,” the pair said. “Mike has spent much of his career fighting for gun safety, while respecting the Second Amendment — it’s a record he’s proud of. He’s championed common sense gun safety reforms, including universal background checks.”

Among the top contenders in the Super Tuesday primary are Bloomberg; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Vice President Joe Biden; and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

In the GOP primary, where only Donald Trump is on the ballot, there is no suspense about who will win. The only real interest is whether the Republicans show much passion in a meaningless primary.

Democratic candidates have been wary of endorsing any of the presidential hopefuls.

Bre Kidman, a Saco lawyer, is the only one of the party’s four U.S. Senate contenders who has declared a favorite: Sanders.

Bre Kidman, U.S. Senate hopeful, at a Democratic dinner in Sangerville last fall. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

Kidman said Sanders has long fought for economic justice and shown an “unwavering commitment to breathing life into our shared democratic values.”

“In a political system overrun by bribery and misinformation, I trust Bernie Sanders to do the right thing,” Kidman said.

Democrat Sara Gideon of Freeport, who is also in a June 9 primary for U.S. Senate, said that “like a lot of Mainers, I’m still making my decision” on the presidential race.

“I have been watching the debates and it’s clear to me that the Democratic field of candidates all have good qualities and important goals,” she said.

“I believe the most important thing in this election is making sure that we have a president that puts the interest of Mainers — and Americans — first,” Gideon said. “It is very clear that person is not Donald Trump.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who represents the 1st Congressional District, declined to pick from among the Democrats vying for president.

“Every candidate on the Democratic ticket is more qualified to run this country than Donald Trump,” she said.

“I look forward to seeing who a majority of Mainers choose to be their nominee, and I’m confident that person will be head and shoulders above the current occupant of the White House,” Pingree said.

State Sen. Nate Libby, a Lewiston Democrat who serves as the majority leader in Augusta, came out for Warren a month ago.

“Elizabeth understands that the key to public service is making government work for everyone, not just those at the top,” Libby said in a prepared statement at the time.

“Her understanding of the economy, what is broken, what it will take to fix it, and her plans to get it done are unparalleled,” he said. “Against the day-in day-out corruption we have seen under this administration, Elizabeth’s comprehensive anti-corruption agenda makes her the best candidate to build the winning coalition we need to defeat Trump.”

The other two Democratic Senate hopefuls – Betsy Sweet of Hallowell and Ross Lejeunesse of Biddeford – didn’t answer questions about who they plan to vote for. But Sweet announced late Friday she plans “a major campaign announcement” on Sunday at Sanders’ state campaign headquarters in Portland.

Among the Republicans who said they’re voting for Trump on Tuesday are Jay Allen, a New Harbor Republican who is running for Congress in the 1st District, and all three 2nd District contenders, Adrienne Bennett of Bangor, Eric Brakey of Auburn and Dale Crafts of Lisbon.

“I believe President Trump has done a lot to improve the economy, protect freedoms and reduce burdensome regulations,” Allen said.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican seeking her fifth term, did not respond to requests this week about how she plans to vote.

Lisa Savage of Solon, an independent who can’t vote in either primary Tuesday, said party primaries ought to be open the way the Maine Green Independent Party is “so that independents can have more say in presidential candidates.”

Golden initially endorsed U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett, a Colorado Democrat. But Bennett dropped out of the race three days after Golden’s endorsement a month ago.


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