SKOWHEGAN (NEWS CENTER Maine) — With just over a month left until the midterms, Democratic congressional candidate Jared Golden is fired up and taking aim at Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin for Maine's second district.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside interest groups have poured into the state over the last few months largely to fund attack ads.
"I hope people don’t buy it," Golden told NEWS CENTER Maine.
Golden said many of the attacks against him have been entirely false.
"They can put all the money in the world out there trying to mislead people about me," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's really simple: I'm just a guy that wants to represent the community and give back to a community done well by me."
Golden, a military veteran and two-term state representative, lives with his wife in Lewiston.
He said when he is not busy, he enjoys the outdoors, shooting, hiking, and even reading up on history.
"I'm a bit of a history buff. Early on in life, I was really into reading about Gettysburg and all those good things," Golden said.
The 36-year-old is trying to distance himself from the far left in the hopes of reaching voters who would not back candidate Emily Cain two years ago.
Cain, who had far more name recognition than Golden does, lost to Poliquin twice in the district despite massive efforts from national organizations. Still, Golden insists he is is going to win.
"I'm beating Bruce Poliquin right now. It's not about who has more money. That's not politics," Golden said.
According to the most recent FEC filings, Golden has raised just over $1.1 million dollars.Poliquin has raised nearly triple that with more than $2.9 million.
Former President Barrack Obama recently endorsed Golden as part of a nationwide effort to regain democratic control in Congress.
Even with all the national attention, the tattoo-clad mellow democrat downplayed the national influence.
"All I've done is fight for working class people, I could care less about the national party. I've said repeatedly I have no intentions of supporting current democratic leadership," Golden said.
He even found himself struggling to keep up with the spotlight.
In between meetings on the campaign trail he meets with photographers and reporters, but it is easy to see it is not the most comfortable place for the candidate.
"No one should run because they want to be in the press," he said. "It's not supposed to be the fun part."
That has not stopped him and his campaign from putting him in a number of TV ads though.
The most recent show him drinking beer in a bar and shooting a rifle—a far cry from the traditional democratic agenda.
In fact, Golden has been outspoken about protecting second amendment rights.
"If you play by the rules then I don't think anyone should infringe on your right to own a firearm. It seems like common sense to me. I'm gonna guess that's where a majority of Mainers are on the issue as well," Golden said.
Another issue Golden has championed and criticized his opponent about, is access to healthcare and funding Medicaid.
He said it is even a crucial part to combating the growing drug crisis in the state.
"Every expert I've spoken to in four years as a Maine state legislature during this crisis has said very simply is what we have to do is expand access to health care," Golden said.
Although Golden insists he is keeping his campaign positive, it is clear it is intensifying.
The latest polls have shown Golden and Poliquin are neck and neck in what looks to be yet another divisive race.
His goal: staying true to his Maine roots.
"They can try and make it about nasty attacks and trying to convince people that I'm something that I'm not," he said. "But at the end of the day every congressman has to come home every two years to explain why they voted the way they did on these big issues."