It appears there may be only two televised debates this fall featuring all three contenders for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Tiffany Bond, left, Rep. Jared Golden and Bruce Poliquin Submitted photos

Though independent Tiffany Bond of Portland said Tuesday she is ready to attend each of four matchups that are in the works, the two major party candidates each said they would attend just three — and each picked a different one as his third choice.

That would appear to set up two debates that include incumbent U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Lewiston, a Democrat, and Republican Bruce Poliquin of Orrington along with Bond, assuming she meets a polling threshold to make the cut.

In the other debates, if nothing changes, Bond would face Poliquin alone in one and Golden by himself in the other.

“It will be delicious; I get to have them each to myself once,” Bond said. “Let’s see the men weasel their way out of debating just me,” she added on Twitter.

The three candidates were all on the ballot in 2018 when Golden squeaked out a narrow win over Poliquin in the nation’s first ranked-choice federal election. Bond got 6% of the vote in the first round and her voters’ second-choice selections put Golden over the top.


The first debate with the three candidates is slated for Sept. 27, put on by News Center Maine, and the second on Oct. 5, hosted by two northern Maine television stations and a regional development agency, the Aroostook Partnership.

Neither Poliquin nor Golden explained why they each declined one of the debates. It’s not clear whether they intended to avoid a third debate with each of the candidates or if it was an administrative mix-up somewhere along the line.

Golden, a two-term incumbent, said in a prepared statement Tuesday that he is looking forward “to a serious and vigorous debate on the issues.”

Poliquin, who held the seat for two terms until Golden beat him in 2018, said in a prepared statement that he is “ready to show folks in the 2nd District that I have the experience and skills to fix our economy.”

On Twitter, Bond said, “I look forward to debating the gentlemen, though I suspect they do not look forward to defending their respective records to me, and more importantly, the voters.”

Experts anticipate a close race again this year in one of the most rural districts in the nation and the largest east of the Mississippi River.


Two years ago, Golden easily beat Dale Crafts of Lisbon despite the district backing Donald Trump’s unsuccessful presidential reelection bid by a wide margin.

In this year’s campaign, Golden said that voters “deserve to hear from the candidates and I look forward to joining my opponents on the debate stage.”

Poliquin said they’ll discuss issues “that are impacting Mainers in the 2nd District: inflation, fuel costs and the need to secure our border.”

The Republican hopeful said “too many Maine families, businesses and seniors are buckling under the current recession. Mainers know they need change.”

The first debate with all three candidates is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. on NewsCenter Maine. The second and perhaps final showdown is slated for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5, on WAGM of Presque Isle and WABI of Bangor.

The other two possible debates are slated for Monday, Sept. 26, sponsored by Maine Public, Portland Press Herald and the Sun Journal, and one in the first half of October sponsored by Bangor Daily News and WGME, a Portland television station.

Golden said he would participate in the September showdown while Poliquin said he would appear in the October one. Bond said she will go to both.

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