The first debate in this year’s 2nd Congressional District race, held Monday on Maine Public, proved a less-than-satisfying debut.

Only one of the three candidates, independent Tiffany Bond, a Portland attorney, showed up.

Democrat Jared Golden of Lewiston initially said he would also participate but pulled out after decreeing he would only take part in debates with both of his challengers. Since Republican Bruce Poliquin never agreed to the Monday debate sponsored by Maine Public, the Portland Press Herald and the Sun Journal, Golden stayed away as well.

“As a candidate, I’m happy to have the attention. But as a voter, I’m angry,” Bond said Monday. She said that “neither of these yahoos” she is sharing the ballot with on Nov. 8 deserve to be elected if they can’t even face the electorate in a few debates.

The only debate where all three candidates are slated to share a stage occurs Tuesday. It will air at 7 p.m. on News Center Maine.

During the Monday forum, where Bond answered questions posed by Maine Public’s Jennifer Rooks, the candidate did not say whom she would choose as her second pick on the ballot, if anyone.


“I personally would not vote for Bruce Poliquin,” Bond said, “but I haven’t decided if I ever would vote for Jared Golden.”

Bond is generally more focused than either Golden or Poliquin on social issues, arguing that people would benefit if government approached student loans, health care, mental health, Social Security, veterans aid and more as a package of programs intended to help Mainers get ahead and live better lives.

She said the nation needs “a real support network” that keeps up with inflation and focuses on supporting people with services they need. The existing network is appalling, she said.

Bond, who plans to spend less than $5,000 on her campaign, said she has no use for the multimillion-dollar budgets of the two mainstream candidates and the political action committees that are spending millions more to attack or defend Poliquin and Golden in a seemingly endless parade of advertising on social media and television.

Tiffany Bond, right, is interviewed Monday by Jennifer Rooks during a forum televised by Maine Public. Screenshot from video

She said she offers a “no torture campaign” instead that won’t have any television ads.

“The only way you’ll see an ad for me on TV is if something we make on social media gets picked up by the news, or if someone pays for one that isn’t me,” she said.


Bond ran in 2018 for the same congressional seat in a four-way race that featured Golden and Poliquin and Will Hoar. At the time, Poliquin was in his second term in the U.S. House. Golden, a state lawmaker, defeated him in the nation’s first ranked-choice election, with the second picks of Bond’s voters providing the margin of victory.

Bond collected 6% of the vote in the 2018 race and sought to make the ballot for the 2020 U.S. Senate race as well. She could not collect enough signatures two years ago, however, in part because COVID restrictions wiped out many of the public events where politicians find voters willing to sign their election paperwork.

Bond said Golden and Poliquin were better candidates in 2018 than they are this time around.

“They’re both very, very bad at this job,” Bond said, adding that Poliquin the candidate has somehow gotten worse than “the drunken, frat boy limbo bar low” standard he set during his four years in Washington. Golden has fallen well short of his promises to do better, she said.

“At the end of the day, these gentlemen don’t come with their thinking caps” to offer solutions to the problems Mainers face, she said.

For instance, she said, government needs to “do a better job of maintaining the databases” on who should be able to access firearms and better training for law enforcement about existing laws.


Bond said that officials need to show more creativity.

She said that with the looming closure of the paper mill in Jay, it might be worth exploring alternative uses for the plant, from making insulin to “indoor vertical farming” that could provide local produce for Mainers.

Bond said she would support a federal law to protect abortion rights.

“Privacy is one of the most important and fundamental rights,” she said, adding that medical decision-making should never be done in the nation’s capital, whether it’s about treating cancer of bunions.

Bond, a 46-year-old who moved to Maine a dozen years ago, practices family law, is married and has two sons. Though they have lived in Portland for a decade, the family bought land in Sandy River Plantation near the Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort in Franklin County. They are building “a forever place” there where they plan to move, stymied for the moment by the difficulty of coming up with approved septic plans.

Maine’s 2nd District is among the most rural in the nation. It is the largest district east of the Mississippi River.

A taped version of Monday’s forum with Bond will air at 4 p.m. Tuesday on Maine Public. It is available on the Sun Journal’s website as well.

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