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Consequential Maine Senate race flooded with outsider money

Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, will face off against Rep. Sue Bernard, R-Caribou.

CARIBOU, Maine — A Maine Senate race in Aroostook County is garnering national attention as Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, faces off against challenger Rep. Sue Bernard, R-Caribou.

The race is consequential in that Aroostook County has a state senator in the presidential role, the second in command in case the governor is unfit to serve.

If Republicans take the Maine Senate or Sue Bernard wins, Jackson would lose the position.

If Jackson wins, he would continue as Democrat leader in a district that voted for Donald Trump twice.

The outcome of this race has spurred intense national spending from out-of-state groups.

More than a million dollars have been spent on advertisements supporting either candidate, most of that money spent to support Troy Jackson.

RELATED: Meet the candidates for major office on Maine's 2022 ballot

One notable incident of spending comes from signs planted by the Maine Republican Party insinuating Jackson supports defunding the police.

Previous reporting from NEWS CENTER Maine showed these signs were misleading.

NEWS CENTER Maine interviewed both candidates at length and asked them about local and national issues.

On the issue of the population decline in Aroostook County, the candidates had differing views.

Bernard said more needs to be done to attract veterans to The County, while Jackson said more needs to be done to keep farmers living there.

"They would be attracted to the very things Aroostook County does so well. We have the most wonderful fishing, hunting, all those things military people tend to gravitate to," Bernard said.

"That's been my big focus, trying to bring natural resource jobs back, being logging, farming, fishing," Jackson said.

When it comes to abortion, now that states have local control over the legality of abortion services, Bernard said she is not opposed to restricting abortions further than the "viability" rule Maine has.

"I would have to see the bill, and I would have to hear from people. This is a moral issue — I know how I personally feel, but I represent people," Bernard said. She added that people on the campaign trail show her there is more interest in anti-abortion legislation being passed.

RELATED: Older Mainers share concerns ahead of midterm elections

Jackson said that despite his personal beliefs on abortion, he believes the law in Maine should stand.

"I think the way that law is right now is the way it's going to stay. I'm not going to vote to overturn that. I'm not going to change it," Jackson said.

Regarding gun control, both candidates argue they are pro-Second Amendment.

Both candidates also agreed the government needs to provide help for people who depend on heating oil.

Anyone interested can watch the full interviews with each candidate below.

Rep. Sue Bernard

Senate President Troy Jackson

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