Research Associate Matthew Klein contributed to this report.
Maine’s congressional lines have remained virtually the same for decades, with a solidly Democratic 1st District anchored by Portland and a highly competitive 2nd District covering the state’s more rural, blue-collar north. In 2021, the Pine Tree State’s apportionment commission, made up of an equal number of Democratic and Republican legislative appointees, arrived at a compromise plan — later signed into law by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills — that shifted the state capital of Augusta and liberal Hallowell into the 2nd District to rebalance both districts’ populations, benefiting Democratic Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) by a fraction of a point.
As a Democrat representing a district Donald Trump carried by six points in 2020, Golden remains a top GOP target. But the tattooed Marine Corps veteran has built a powerful personal brand that appeals to the 2nd District’s large swath of independent voters and convincingly defeated former GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin 53%-47% in 2022. Republicans are betting that a combination of a fresh nominee and Trump driving peripherally engaged GOP voters to the
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