One of the contenders in Maine’s increasingly heated Republican congressional primary in Maine’s 2nd District said his party’s U.S. House leader “sold out” America to provide funds for Ukraine. 

State Rep. Mike Soboleski of Phillips said in a social media post that “America and Maine cannot afford” to move forward with the agenda promoted by House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican who has endorsed Soboleski’s opponent in the June 11 primary. 

Johnson pushed through aid bills Saturday that will send $95 billion to foreign allies with the help of the Democratic minority in the House, including U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a three-term Lewiston Democrat. 

After Soboleski said Monday it is “unacceptable” for his primary opponent, state Rep. Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, to remain mum on the funding, Theriault’s campaign issued a statement.

Shawn Roderick, Austin’s campaign manager, said that Theriault “supports our ally in Israel and defeating Putin; however, there needs to be strict oversight on foreign spending rather than a blank check. We need to secure our border first.”

The campaign did not respond to a request to clarify how Theriault would have voted on the bills to aid Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan that Johnson shepherded through Congress.


“People need to know where he stands,” Soboleski said. “Does he agree with his endorser Speaker Mike Johnson and Jared Golden, who hold the same position, or does he agree with me and the American people?” Soboleski asked.

“People know where I stand,” Soboleski said. “I will always put our security and America first.”

Johnson’s aid package consisted of three bills: one for $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, another providing $26 billion in aid for Israel and another to lend a hand to Taiwan.

Golden voted for each of the aid bills passed overwhelmingly by bipartisan majorities.

“The defense of Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan is the defense of America,” Golden said in a prepared statement.

“Putin’s Russia, Iran-backed terrorists and Chinese communist autocrats are testing the boundaries of democracy and violating the sovereignty of our democratic allies in a way we haven’t seen in generations,” the three-term congressman said.


“The United States cannot stand by as foreign actors hostile to American security, democracy and prosperity gather their strength,” Golden said. “If they are successful, the future threat will be on our own shores.”

Soboleski’s view is sharply different.

He said on social media that providing billions to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan “is not American first; this is not fiscally conservative.”

With the nation approaching $35 trillion in national debt, Soboleski said, spending so much is “unsustainable and a national security crisis.”

“If we must spend American tax dollars, let us secure our borders and invest in American energy,” he said. “If you want to take away Putin’s power, drive the price of oil to under $50 a barrel.”

In March, Johnson called Theriault “a conservative champion in the making” and declared in a letter to Mainers that “we need more patriots like Austin” in Congress.


The funding bills approved by the House, when combined, echo much of the aid bill that the U.S. Senate passed weeks ago, except that Johnson stripped out funding for border security after former President Donald Trump called for House Republicans to stifle funding for border measures.

In addition to backing the aid measures, Golden was one of five House Democrats to vote for another spending bill, pushed by many Republicans, that sought increased U.S. border security and a new U.S. policy toward immigrants. It fell short on a 215-199 vote because it needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

“America must have control over its borders and this bill would move us in the right direction,” Golden said.

The aid bills passed by the House will go to the Senate next as a joint package, where they are likely to be endorsed. President Joe Biden has already said he will sign them.

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