Was Jared Golden’s seat one of the seats “bought” by Bloomberg in 2018?

Photo used by the Eric Brakey campaign to draw attention to the money spent by three Bloomberg-funded PACs in 2018 to help elect Rep. Jared Golden.

WASHINGTON D.C. – When former New York City Mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg said he “bought” 21 Congressional seats during a Presidential debate, was Jared Golden’s seat one of them? That’s a question his opponents were answering last week as Maine moved into the home-stretch of the state’s Super Tuesday vote.

The moment happened during a debate in Charleston, S.C. on Tuesday, February 24th. Bloomberg was attempting to defend his ability to elect Democrats in response to Vice President Joe Biden, who had just bragged about his work helping elect Democrats to the House.

 “All of the new Democrats that came in, put Nancy Pelosi in charge, and gave the Congress the ability to control this President, I bought- I got them,” said Bloomberg.

While Bloomberg did catch himself before saying he “bought them”, even his correction suggests he sees his spending, which Bloomberg said totaled over $100 million, as the largest factor in flipping the United States House.

Eric Brakey, a former State Senator who is running in the primary to challenge Golden in the November election, says Golden’s seat is one that Bloomberg bought.

“One of the Congressmen Bloomberg was referring to is Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District,” said the Brakey campaign in a Facebook post.

“The Brakey Campaign has discovered that three (3) separate Bloomberg-funded PACs spent nearly $1.5 million to boost Golden’s campaign in 2018, putting him across the finish line under ranked choice voting.”

Brakey’s statement goes on to explain several positions Golden took in the Maine Legislature that would have made him a favorable candidate for Bloomberg. It is accompanied by a graphic featuring Bloomberg and Golden and the words “I bought…. them”

Among those positions are Golden’s opposition to Maine’s Constitutional Carry law (which Brakey sponsored and shepherded into law), Golden’s support of a controversial background check bill that Brakey said would have “criminalized transfers between law-abiding citizens” and Golden’s hiring of top campaign staff that previously worked for Bloomberg.

“Maine people reject Mike Bloomberg‘s gun control agenda and deserve a Congressmen who isn’t “bought” and beholden to this anti-gun New York City billionaire,” says the Brakey statement.

“The media mocked us when we showed up to tell Mike Bloomberg that Mainers can’t be bought,” tweeted Adrienne Bennett, who is also vying to take on Golden.

“Last night he admitted that he likes to buy house seats & took credit for electing @Rep. Golden. This November, we will send Mike Bloomberg a clear message that Maine can’t be bought!

Bennett’s tweet included a photo of her holding a sign that reads “Can’t Be Bought” in a Trump baseball cap while smiling at a man in a suit.

The National Republican Congressional Campaign also weighed in.

“During last night’s debate gong show, billionaire Michael Bloomberg admitted he “bought” 40 House Democrats, including Jared Golden,” said Michael McAdams, a spokesperson for the NRCC. “Today the NRCC mailed Golden a ‘For Sale’ sign to fill out so voters know how much it costs for someone to buy his loyalty this time around.”

On Friday, Golden, facing questions about who he would vote for in the Presidential primary, told the Lewiston Sun Journal he would vote for any Democratic candidate for President, but Bloomberg was not the candidate he would be supporting. (Read the LSJ article)

Saying he opposed Bloomberg’s recent issue-based spending in Maine, the Lewiston Sun Journal quotes Golden as saying Bloomberg would not get his vote, including a statement from Golden criticizing Bloomberg.

While Golden might be seeking favor for opposing Bloomberg’s attempts to “buy influence” or an “election” as he put it, Golden certainly reaped the rewards of that spending in 2018.

According to the Brakey campaign, in the 2018 election cycle, three Bloomberg-funded political action committees spent almost $1.5 million boosting Golden’s candidacy. That spending was part of the record-breaking spending levels that ended with Golden being declared the winner over Congressman Bruce Poliquin after the controversial ranked-choice voting tabulation.

Bloomberg has also received criticism from Bernie Sanders, who has said he is trying to “buy” the election.

Golden previously endorsed Democrat Presidential candidate Michael Bennet just days before Bennet dropped out of the race. Since then, Golden has not offered much more information on his upcoming Super Tuesday vote other than the distance he sought from Bloomberg.

The district Jared Golden represents (Maine’s Second Congressional District) went heavily for Donald Trump in 2016 and is believed to be favorable to the President again in 2020.

Chatter about the district picked up after Rep. Golden voted to impeach President Trump in late 2019.

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