LEWISTON (NEWS CENTER Maine) – With days until the midterm elections, Bruce Poliquin is more confident than ever he can beat another democratic candidate and secure a third term in Congress.
The Second District Republican stopped at Simone’s Hot Dog Stand in Lewiston Thursday to meet with voters — a place he says has become a go-to spot.
“The best restaurant in America,” Poliquin said.
His family’s roots in the city go back years. Poliquin was raised not too far away in Waterville and grew to become a successful businessman with an estimated net worth of more than $10 million.
That success did not come without hardship though.
Poliquin lost his wife in a tragic swimming accident, leaving him to raise his now 28-year-old son Sam on his own.
"He's my only child. I raised him from the time he was in diapers —17 months old,” he said. “The most prized title I've ever received was Dad. It's not Congressman, it's Dad."
Reflecting on the last four years in Washington, he said he is proud of what he has accomplished when it comes to fighting for Maine businesses, jobs and veterans.
“The economy is doing great!” Poliquin said. “These are real people, real Mainers that we're helping and I'm very proud of that.”
His most recent efforts to combat veteran suicide have become a main talking point.
"We're losing 20 veterans per day to suicide and it's higher in the state of Maine,” he said.
He has made it his goal to ensure veterans and the elderly have better access to health care, especially in rural Maine.
While Democrats have accused him of hiding from his record and taking advantage of millions of dollars from special interest groups, Poliquin downplays the criticism.
“[Those groups] are in favor of everybody. That happens. We can't control it. So they're pouring millions and millions of dollars in here, but you know something the people of Maine have seen this. They've seen this before and they can't be bought,” Poliquin said.
Poliquin has raised more than $2.9 million, according to the latest filings—nearly three times more than Democratic challenger Jared Golden.
Attack ads from PACs and Poliquin’s campaign directly have been lashing out at Jared Golden for months. He says they are fair game.
"My job is to tell these people there's a real difference here between these two campaigns,” he said.
One issue Golden’s campaign is targeting is Poliquin’s record on health care, accusing Poliquin of shying away from his vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Poliquin said he is not hiding from that vote and insisted that he will continue to fight for sensible reform that protects Maine businesses as well as the state’s aging population.
When pressed on his stance on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Poliquin deflected.
“I am very comfortable in all issues and I wish the Senate great success in their deliberations,” he said. “I'll tell you. I think it's horrible what this partisan politics have done both to Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh."
Poliquin is known for avoiding comment on controversial national topics, especially when questioned by news outlets.
"As far as the circus in Washington, I don't deal with that. That's not my job,” Poliquin said.
The race for the Second District seat is closer than ever with the latest poll showing the two candidates neck-and-neck.
Poliquin beat democratic opponent Emily Cain twice in a row, and he is adamant he can win again.
“This is a very clear choice,” Poliquin said.