January 20, 2020
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Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci to run for US House seat

Evan Belanger | BDN
Evan Belanger | BDN
Bangor Councilor Joe Baldacci speaks in support of raising the city's minimum wage during an April meeting at Abraham Lincoln School in Bangor.

BANGOR, Maine — City Councilor Joe Baldacci, brother of former Gov. John Baldacci, is making a run for Congress.

Baldacci filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday in order to seek the Democratic nomination in next year’s race for the 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Baldacci, 50, formally announced his candidacy via a website that went live Wednesday night.

“I am a life-long Mainer who wants to go to Washington to make sure that all of us get a fair shake from our government; that people without wealth or power can be heard and helped, and that our government and our country can work for all of us,” he said on the site, which seeks donations for his campaign.

“Our current leadership is more concerned with ideology, special interest, and Wall Street values than representing the people of the 2nd District,” he said.

Baldacci has named former Bangor City Councilor and current Bangor School Committee member Susan Hawes as his treasurer.

Baldacci, a Bangor lawyer, said he also is working with Scott Gale, founder of Fundraising Management Group, a fundraising consultant who works with Democratic candidates.

The news comes after Baldacci confirmed in May he had hired the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm to conduct a telephone poll on his behalf.

Since February, Baldacci has pushed for a local minimum wage increase in Bangor and voiced support for a statewide increase.

Lacking majority support on the City Council though, Baldacci successfully moved to delay consideration of his ordinance until after the November election.

The move prevented the local minimum wage ordinance from failing. The issue is expected to play out in the upcoming council elections.

Baldacci will face fellow Democrat Emily Cain of Orono in the primary. Cain, who lost a bid for the seat in 2014, announced her candidacy in March.

The Democratic primary winner is expected to face Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin, who defeated Cain.

According to Baldacci, who hired Public Policy Polling to survey more than 1,000 people in the district from April 16 to 19, the baseline question showed him “in a statistical dead heat” with Poliquin.

He posted detailed results of a follow-up question that included a reference to the potential candidates’ stances on Medicare. That question showed Baldacci with a 12-point lead, taking 50 percent of the responses compared with 38 percent for Poliquin and 12 percent unsure.

The poll had a 3.1 percent margin of error, according to Baldacci.

Asked Wednesday for a response to Baldacci’s congressional run, Brent Littlefield, a spokesman for Poliquin, criticized Baldacci’s April poll numbers.

“The poll numbers presented by Mr. Baldacci are … worth as much as the BDN readers paid for them: zero,” he said.

Baldacci was not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, Sarah Russell, a spokeswoman for Cain, said “Emily welcomes Joe Baldacci to the race.”

“Emily remains focussed on defeating Congressman Poliquin and fighting for greater opportunities for Mainers across the Second Congressional District,” she said.

Baldacci, a Bangor native, graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1987 and graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland in 1991.

Follow Evan Belanger on Twitter at @evanbelanger.



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