Pro-Trump forces rally outside Rep. Golden’s Bangor office to oppose impeachment

Trump supporters rally outside Rep. Jared Golden’s office on State Street in Bangor.

BANGOR – Maine’s Second Congressional District is “Trump Country” if such a thing exists in New England. Even in the two largest population centers, it’s difficult to spend more than a few minutes in a public place without spotting someone sporting a Trump hat or a truck bumper adorned with Trump stickers. Outside Rep. Jared Golden’s office on State Street in Bangor, a group of those supporters gathered to send a crystal clear message to Rep. Golden yesterday.

Rep. Jared Golden should vote to oppose the “sham” Articles of Impeachment against President Trump, said more than 50 Mainers who rallied outside Golden’s office. Holding signs and waving large Trump flags, they cheered for Trump and joined in chants calling on Golden to be voted out of office if he moves forward on impeachment.

Some attendees felt Golden had already crossed the line when voting for the initial impeachment inquiry.

The rally, organized by the Republican National Committee and Maine GOP, caught the eye of many drivers on State Street in Bangor, with a steady chorus of supportive drivers honking their horns, offering a thumbs up or shouting support from their cars. Each new sign of support drew cheers from the those at the rally, building energy as the rally continued.

A few drivers shouted obscenities at rally goers or made vulgar hand gestures, but the Trump supporters took it in stride. Chants such as “Four more year” “USA, USA, USA”, “Donald…Trump! Donald… Trump!” and “Ho ho ho, Jared’s got to go!” were common.

A few at a time, the Trump supporters filed into Golden’s office to respectfully register their opinion on the impeachment issue with Golden’s staffer.

Golden, who fashioned himself during his campaign as an independent-minded, moderate, has been anything but as far as these folks are concerned. A number of those in attendance said they thought Golden was doing “what Pelosi tells him to do” and not what his district desires.

Golden represents one of the districts the national political media has focused on as the impeachment vote looms – a district Trump carried by 10 percentage points but now represented by a Democrat. It has been won easily by other Republicans across the ideological spectrum over the past decade.

Unlike other Democrats in similar situations around the nation, Golden has what some see as a dubious claim to even hold the seat. He lost the 2018 general election when the votes were initially counted, only to be handed victory days later when ballots were run through a ranked-choice voting tabulation and the votes of the fourth and third place candidates were reassigned, giving him the “victory.”

The ranked-choice voting process has been called a “rip off” and much worse in the fallout of that election.

In Washington D.C. Golden has been a reliable vote with Nancy Pelosi and liberals, with a recent analysis from FiveThirtyEight saying Golden only votes with Trump 9.1% of the time – tying Golden with freshman “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib for anti-Trump voting record.

Golden has at times attempted to revive the moderate facade, but some are not buying it. After keeping quiet for months on impeachment, Golden first said he opposed impeachment, then voted to kick start the inquiry that led to the national spectacle that brought Washington D.C. to a grinding halt.

RNC Spokesperson Nina McLaughlin says Rep. Jared Golden needs to vote to “Stop the Madness” on the “sham impeachment” and get back to work on issues that matter to Maine people.

“Jared Golden needs to decide if he stands with his constituents or Nancy Pelosi’s partisan power play,” said McLaughlin.

In October, the RNC debuted a new website, StopTheMadness.gop, which operates as a one-stop clearing house to defend the president– including opportunities for people to sign up as a volunteer, details on how to show up to a counter protest and more. A $10.3 million TV and digital buy is also part of the nationwide push against 60+ vulnerable Democrats who campaigned on reaching across the aisle to work with President Trump.

More recently, Republican groups have been hammering Golden on the airwaves and in digital ads, calling on him to oppose impeachment and criticizing the lack of progress being made on key issues voters care about, like the economy.

One key issue that McLaughlin and others have been highlighting as being ignored while Democrats pursued impeachment was the USMCA, a trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada that would replace NAFTA.

NAFTA has been blamed for more than two decades for hollowing out the economy of Maine’s Second District as jobs and factories were shipped to foreign countries. Once a strong and proud center of industry and manufacturing, Maine’s Second District saw most of its mills shuttered and tens of thousands of good-paying jobs evaporate.

Several weeks ago Golden came out against the USMCA deal in a series of tweets, citing opposition to it based on a vague claim about intellectual property rights. While Golden has criticized NAFTA in the past, his opposition to USMCA would leave NAFTA intact.

Even after Nancy Pelosi announced Democrats had come to an agreement with President Trump to pass the USMCA just an hour after rolling out their “Articles of Impeachment” against Trump, Golden has not announced support of the USMCA.

Two of the three Republicans competing for the nomination to challenge Golden, former State Rep. Dale Crafts and long-time LePage Press Secretary Adrienne Bennett were on hand in Bangor to ding Golden for supporting the impeachment inquiry and his lack of accomplishment for the people of the district. Their talking points were potent and clear – if Jared Golden can’t, or won’t, do what he promised to do, he will be replaced.

The third Republican candidate seeking to challenge Golden, Eric Brakey, had a scheduling conflict but sent staff to show his support for those at the rally.

In a district that is strongly supportive of President Trump and against NAFTA, Rep. Jared Golden’s political future likely rests in his own hands (or Nancy Pelosi’s, according to some at the rally) these next few weeks, with key votes coming on both issues.

Golden’s current anti-Trump, anti-USMCA positions don’t leave much room for growth among the Second District electorate.

With a mid-term electoral performance so weak that many are left questioning if Golden is even legitimately in office, growth in a Presidential election is exactly what Golden needs if he is to survive. Votes on the two Articles of Impeachment and ratification of the USMCA are both expected before Christmas in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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