Ranked choice tabulations that will determine the fate of Maine's 2nd Congressional District election are underway.
The tabulations began Monday, and the secretary of state's office told News Center Maine that the official count should be available by Tuesday night.
Ultimately, the fate of the Congressional seat is in the hands of the 7% of voters who cast a ballot for Independent Tiffany Bond. The ranked choice tabulation will determine who her voters' second choices were, and whether those votes will count for incumbent Democrat Jared Golden or Republican Bruce Poliquin.
"The second choice of the people who put Tiffany Bond as their first choice will determine if they get reassigned to Golden or Poliquin," Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said.
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Representatives from both campaigns were invited to view the tabulation process.
Golden received 48% of the vote prior to the ranked choice tabulation, and declared victory last week. He needed to clear 50% of the vote to avoid the ranked choice round.
"I am deeply honored that the people of Maine’s Second District have chosen me to represent them in Washington for another two-year term," Golden said on Thursday in Lewiston. "Although Bruce Poliquin may not be willing to concede, at this point the final result is undeniably clear. The few precincts that remain cannot meaningfully alter the position of this race. In an instant runoff against Bruce Poliquin, we are confident that our lead will hold or even extend by a comfortable margin."
Ben Trundy, campaign manager for the Poliquin team, said that Poliquin losing the initial vote was not how the campaign hoped the results would be, but he stopped short of conceding the race. Poliquin received 44% of the vote.
“The results are what they are. We wished it would have been different, but this is the process we have, so we’re just here observing, seeing everything through the campaign,” Trundy said. “Clearly that was not what it was, but those are the unknowns. I think we’re still doing the math on it. Could we have done things differently? Sure.”
Poliquin held the seat from 2014 to 2018. Golden used the ranked round to unseat him in 2018.
The national Republican Party focused heavily on flipping the district, where former President Donald Trump maintains strong support. Golden had to contend with both Poliquin and independent candidate Tiffany Bond in a race that both included ranked-choice voting and was a rematch of three candidates from 2018.