The two Democrats who represent Maine in the U.S. House agreed Tuesday with the ouster of Kevin McCarthy as speaker, an unprecedented political move that threatens to create more chaos and confusion on Capitol Hill.

The eight GOP firebrands who pushed for McCarthy’s removal in the closely split House have little in common with the Democrats who also voted against the California Republican when he won the post during a grueling, dayslong drama in January.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a three-term Lewiston Democrat, said Tuesday that he couldn’t see any reason to back McCarthy.

“He’s not the leader I would choose,” Golden said in a prepared statement before the historic vote Tuesday. “He doesn’t have the pulse of the people of Maine’s 2nd District.”

“Absent any significantly meaningful benefit for Maine’s 2nd District, I see no reason to vote for him,” Golden said.

Maine’s other representative, Democrat Chellie Pingree in the 1st District, said Democrats “will not cave to extremists.”


“As we have witnessed, House Republicans cannot govern this way and that’s why I joined the united Democratic caucus to support a motion to vacate the chair,” Pingree said.

She pointed out that McCarthy “was so desperate to grasp the gavel” in January “that he sold out our institution, allowing just one person to bring the people’s House to a grinding halt,” a deal that made it possible for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a Republican, to request Tuesday’s vote on McCarthy’s continued speakership.

A Republican state senator from Auburn, Eric Brakey, issued a statement on social media stating simply that McCarthy “is not part of the solution.”

One of Golden’s Republican challenger, state Rep. Mike Soboleski of Phillips, said after the vote Tuesday, “Regardless of your opinion of Kevin McCarthy, today is further evidence of dysfunction in Washington. Today’s Congress is broken and embroiled by insider politics — and as a result, the American people and the people of Maine continue to be left behind.”

Another GOP hopeful, state Rep. Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, said, “Many in Congress are putting politics over the people of Maine and the country. This mess is completely unacceptable. I’m running to be a common-sense voice in a dysfunctional system because that’s the type of leadership that’s lacking in Washington.”

The dysfunction in the House leadership battle is within the ranks of the Republican caucus. Democrats were united.


Golden cited a few bills where he thinks McCarthy was on the wrong side, including the speaker’s backing for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, his opposition to a regulatory freeze on right whale rules and his failure to hold a promised vote on a measure that would ban members of Congress from trading stocks while in office.

In any case, he said, it’s up to the Republican majority to select a speaker.

“The GOP has control of the House and it is their responsibility to pick their leaders,” Golden said. “That decision has nothing to do with me or with any Democrat.”

Will Reinert, press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Campaign took aim at Democrats like Golden who are members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus for refusing to lend McCarthy a hand.

“Extreme Problem Solvers Democrats care more about legislative anarchy and causing a government shutdown than governing,” he said.

Reinert said they love to portray themselves as moderates to constituents, “but when it comes down to it they never have the backbone to stand up to the leaders of their party.”

But Democrats from the caucus said McCarthy never asked them for any help.

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