A little-known Bangor Democrat warned U.S. Rep. Jared Golden last week that if he failed to vote for the Build Back Better Act, he’d face a primary next year.

“I feel like he turned his back on Mainers in his district,” Sutton said Monday.

Michael Sutton Submitted photo

Michael Sutton said he’s in it “win or lose” in a bid “to salvage our district” for progressive Democrats.

While Sutton has filed the required paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, it’s not clear he can pull together the support necessary to snag a spot on the primary ballot in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District next year.

He said, though, that voters should have options.

Sutton had filed to run last spring but then declared he wouldn’t follow through on it. But he filed again last week and insisted he’s in it for the duration.

“You may not like it,” he said on Facebook. “I won’t back down for anyone.”

Golden, a two-term congressman from Lewiston, has left some party loyalists feeling puzzled or angry by high-profile votes that went against the House leadership, including the Build Back Better bill last week, the American Rescue Plan Act last spring and one of the impeachment counts brought against former President Donald Trump.

Other Democrats are also eyeing the prospect of a primary challenge against Golden, who is widely considered among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents since his sprawling, rural district voted for Trump last year by a six-point margin.

There are four Republicans vying for the right to take on Golden next year, including the man he defeated to snatch the job in 2018, Bruce Poliquin. Also in the GOP race are Liz Caruso of Caratunk, Sean Joyce of Newburgh and state Rep. Mike Perkins of Oakland.

Sutton has laid out a few issues he plans to pursue, including the idea that all churches “should be homeless shelters at night” and to press for student loan forgiveness for teaching professionals who work with people who have disabilities.

Sutton said he would also abolish “the inhumane subminimum wage” that makes it possible to pay people with disabilities “literally cents and not dollars” for their time on the job.

“People with disabilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity for the work that is produced in the American workforce. Subminimum wages are inhumane and disgusting,” he posted on his Facebook page.

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

Sutton lost a lopsided state House primary last year and later waged a write-in campaign for the Bangor City Council. He got seven votes.

Sutton grew up in Massachusetts, got a 2013 degree in hospitality management from DeVry University-Illinois and earned a master’s degree in business administration in 2016 from Husson University.

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