This time there’s nowhere Jared Golden can hide

SOMESVILLE, Jan. 9, 2021 – He voted against Nancy Pelosi as speaker twice. He was the only House Democrat to take an oblique position in Donald Trump’s impeachment in 2019 by splitting his vote. In the 116th Congress, he voted against his party’s position 102 times, including a major bill. He was one of two Democrats to vote against the party’s signature gun control legislation.

Is Jared Golden a Democrat or Republican, or as the oft-used moniker a DINO (Democrats in name only)?

All one needs to do is to go to Golden’s Facebook page and read the partisan comments after he offered his condolences to the dead Capitol Hill policeman’s family. It clearly demonstrated the Second District’s split personality and the weight on Golden each time a highly public political action is required.

Les Gibson: Really Mr. Golden?While Officer Sicknick’s death is an absolute tragedy, and one that should not have happened, where are your words of sympathy for the shooting death of the female Air Force veteran from San Diego?Do you have no regard for your fellow veterans?The manner in which you cherry pick things is reprehensible.

Maureen Craig Harding Will you be supporting Impeachment this time around, DEMOCRATIC Representative Golden? Trump bears responsibility for Officer Sicknick’s murder. I ask you to support impeachment.

in late 2019 Golden became the only member of the House to split his decision on a historic matter with grave implications for the president and the nation’s political landscape. His unusual choice to charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power but not with obstruction of Congress left him open to criticism from both parties.

Stephen King famously tweeted, “If my congressman, Jared Golden, votes for only one article of impeachment, I will work with all my might to see him defeated next year.”

The flipside was when a conservative advocacy group began a $2.5 million ad buy against lawmakers who won Trump districts and voted for impeachment, Mr. Golden was at the top of its list.

As it turned out Golden managed to win re-election on Nov. 3, prompting some in the media to hail that he could be a candidate for the Senate seat in 2024 should Angus King choose not to run at Age 80.

But before that he’ll need to win re-election in 2022 in the notoriously volatile mid-terms. That will not be a slam dunk. Golden won re-election during the pandemic year against his opponent, a paraplegic who could not campaign with mobility around the huge Second District. Even then, he won with only 53 percent of the vote, as opposed to Chellie Pingree, who gathered 61 percent in the First District. In two years, with Trump gone, a less strident Republican candidate could retake the district, which was held by Republican Bruce Poliquin until 2018.

That may be why Golden has been stiff-arming his home state journalists on the question of the proposed resolution to impeach Trump a second time. He refused to address the question posed by Colin Woodard, perhaps the best journalist in Maine.

Woodard wrote in the Portland Press Herald today, “Golden said that the president was responsible for Wednesday’s “violence and lawlessness, and he should be held accountable,” but did not commit to a position on what form that accountability should take.

The New York Times wrote, shortly after Golden split his vote, “The political risks for Mr. Golden also underscore how difficult it has become for a lawmaker who is willing to cross party lines on some of the most fraught issues to survive and stake out a role for himself in Congress at a time when partisan loyalty is more expected than ever.”

To which Golden replied:

“It might be a lonely place for me to be in Washington … but it’s not a lonely place for me to be here in Maine, and in my district.”

The Times added:

“That dynamic, to some political observers, made Mr. Golden’s decision to back only one of two impeachment articles all the more perplexing. He argued that the obstruction of Congress charge against Mr. Trump was not warranted because House Democrats had not fought hard enough in the courts to try to force critical administration officials to testify in their impeachment inquiry. The decision, he said, was not a political calculation, but about establishing a solid precedent.

“People were automatically going to this cynical place of, ‘This young freshman thinks he can get away with pleasing both sides,’” said Mr. Golden, 38. “‘He doesn’t understand he’s about to get run over by a Mack truck that’s coming right down the middle of the road.’”

Sometimes his action can come perilously close to major implications. Pelosi won re-election as speaker by only seven votes, 216 as opposed to 209 for Republican Kevin McCarthy, minority leader who signed onto a lawsuit that sought to overturn results in four states that Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden. 

“I vote with the Democratic Party like 88 percent of the time,” Mr. Golden said. “That’s, I think, a perfect way to step back and compare it to past Congresses and see how truly divided and partisan Congress has become — that I’m now one of the standout members.”

No doubt about that. If Golden chooses against impeachment next week, he will surely stand out.

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