Bruce Poliquin rebuffs efforts to recruit him as Maine Republican Party chairman

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Posted July 10, 2013, at 5:01 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Bruce Poliquin said Wednesday that he is not interested in becoming chairman of the Maine Republican Party despite a statewide effort to recruit him.

“I’m just not going to pursue it any further,” Poliquin told the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m flattered with the outpouring of people who want me to pursue it, but it’s not something that fits.”

The party has been without a chairman and vice chairman in recent weeks after the resignations of Rich Cebra and Beth O’Connor, respectively. Both resigned in the past few weeks for “personal reasons,” according to Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage. However, O’Connor’s resignation letter, acquired by the Bangor Daily News, indicated that she resigned because of legislative Republicans’ inability to uphold a veto on the $6.3 billion biennial budget that relied on sales, meals and lodging tax increases.

Poliquin’s name came up as a potential successor for Cebra after Gov. Paul LePage reportedly encouraged him to do so. Since then a Facebook page called “ Draft Bruce Poliquin for MEGOP Chair” has attracted nearly 100 followers. Poliquin said he has received encouragement from a number of people across Maine to pursue the chairmanship.

Poliquin, of Georgetown, has increased his profile within the party in recent years during unsuccessful campaigns for governor and the U.S. Senate, in addition to two years as state treasurer during which he published frequent missives about limiting the role of government and cutting spending of taxpayer dollars in Maine.

“When Bruce first appeared on the scene he was an unknown factor,” John Frary, a professor, longtime Maine Republican Party activist and former candidate for Congress in Maine’s 2nd U.S. House District, wrote in an email last week to the BDN. “[Former GOP Chairman] Charlie Webster had no previous knowledge of him. After he first met him in his capacity as state GOP chair, he told me he was most impressed with the man’s willingness to learn.”

Frary wrote that Poliquin would “bring both energy and enthusiasm to the party position.” But Poliquin, whose financial acumen was perceived by some Maine Republican Party members to be a potential asset for the leadership post, won’t seek to become chairman.

Poliquin has indicated in recent weeks that he might begin a campaign for Maine’s 2nd District House seat or the District 19 seat in the Maine Senate, which was vacated this week after the resignation of Democrat Seth Goodall of Richmond. Poliquin on Wednesday declined to say whether he’s any closer to making a decision about any runs for elected office.

“This is not the right time to talk about that,” he said.

The leaders of the Republican party are elected by the Republican State Committee. Savage said last week that he would announce the committee’s next meeting soon.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/10/politics/bruce-poliquin-rebuffs-efforts-to-recruit-him-as-maine-republican-party-chairman/ printed on September 17, 2014