A Democratic congressman from Lewiston, second-term U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, may face a Democratic primary challenger next year.

Michael Sutton of Bangor is eyeing a primary challenge against second-term U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Lewiston Democrat. Submitted photo

Michael Sutton, a Bangor Democrat, filed paperwork last week with the Federal Election Commission indicating his intention to take on Golden for his party’s backing in 2022 in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

Sutton, who could not be reached Monday, lost a lopsided state House primary last year and waged a write-in campaign for the Bangor City Council in which he garnered a total of seven votes. He also fell short in a bid to be a delegate for Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention last summer.

He’s one of 11 Mainers seeking the party’s backing for an open seat on the Democratic National Committee.

While Sutton is hardly a political powerhouse, his willingness to jump into a race against his party’s sitting congressman is an indication of unease within Democratic ranks at Golden’s refusal to go along with major party initiatives in Congress.

Most prominently, Golden was the only Democrat on Capitol Hill to vote against the $1.9 trillion COVD-19 recovery measure that Biden signed into law last week. But he has also voted this year against a police reform bill, two firearms bills and Nancy Pelosi’s reelection as speaker of the House.


In the wake of the votes, a number of Democrats on social media have tossed around the idea of a primary versus Golden, but nobody came forward — until Sutton.

Sutton, who owns a small hospitality business, wrote last year that he is a gay man with autism.

“I’m quite brave living in this world where we are divided today,” he told Ballotpedia about his state House run in which he expressed a desire to seek “common ground.”

Sutton said during that contest that he is “for health care expansion, free breakfast and lunch programs for children regardless of income, infrastructure, good-paying jobs and treatment of employees, taking care of those in addiction, increasing visibility and equal opportunity for all including LGBT, women, people of color, the tribal communities, ending poverty, fighting for climate change, good educational opportunities for all” and for union rights and opportunities for small businesses.

After growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts, Sutton graduated in 2013 from DeVry University-Illinois with a degree in hospitality management, according to his LinkedIn profile. He earned a master’s degree in business administration three years later from Husson University.

No Republican challenger has yet emerged for next year’s congressional race in the sprawling district that Golden won 53-47 last year. Voters in the district also strongly backed the reelection of Republican President Donald Trump, whom Biden defeated nationally.

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