WASHINGTON D.C. – In a topsy-turvy and sometimes surreal week, Rep. Jared Golden may have taken one of the strangest actions of all. In a surprise, Golden, who won his seat in 2018 after ranked-choice voting overturned the election night victory of Rep. Bruce Poliquin, announced he is supporting Michael Bennet for President of the United States. The strange thing about that? Bennet is running at essentially 0% in polls and has not even qualified for Maine’s Presidential primary ballot.
The National Republican Congressional Committee and Golden’s opponents were quick to respond, pointing out that Bennet was one of the candidates that infamously raised his hand during a Democrat Presidential debate in support of providing taxpayer funded healthcare for illegal immigrants. That position may become the most notable aspect of Golden’s announcement.
“Jared Golden’s endorsement of Michael Bennet makes it clear he supports giving illegal immigrants free health care at the expense of Maine voters, and in a district Trump won by 10 that’s a big problem,” said NRCC Spokesman Michael McAdams.
Golden sought to say his endorsement was about getting money out of politics, which does little to explain why he would supporting a candidate that only received 146 votes in Iowa and isn’t on Maine’s ballot while other Democrat candidates share a similar position.
The national political website Politico quoted Golden saying
Bennet is “calm, thoughtful, honest and humble.” Golden also says he supports
Bennet because he will work to get money out of politics.
Dale Crafts, one of three candidates vying for the Republican
nomination to challenge Golden echoed the NRCC’s remarks.
Eric Brakey, another of the three Republicans seeking to
challenge Golden, also criticized Golden, and recalled Golden’s similar
position in the Maine Legislature.
“For anyone who knows Jared’s
record, this comes as no surprise. In the Maine Senate, I fought to prioritize
safety net resources for our most vulnerable Mainers: our seniors and the
intellectually disabled,” said Brakey in a statement published on Facebook.
the Maine House, however, Jared Golden voted to expand welfare for
non-citizens, putting them ahead of vulnerable Maine people on waitlists for basic services.”
Brakey’s statement about Golden is true. Golden did in fact vote for
bills to expand state welfare benefits for non-citizens during his time in the
Adrienne Bennett, who shares almost the same last name as Golden’s
obscure endorsee, was blunt in her tweet response to Golden’s announcement,
saying she was coming for him.
Golden has cast some unusual votes in his time in Congress, siding against President Donald Trump about 90% of the time according to an analysis covered by Maine Examiner. Many of those votes have aligned Golden with members of the House Democrat’s “Squad”, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Rashida Tlaib.