Donald Trump’s 2005 comments about sexually assaulting women have forced Republicans across the country to take a stance on the Republican nominee: either maintaining support, or withdrawing it.
But a Congressman up for re-election in Maine is refusing to tell his constituents how he plans to vote this November.
Rep. Bruce Poliquin has repeatedly shut down questions about Donald Trump, saying he is focused on the issues of Maine’s Second Congressional District, a district expected to vote for Trump.
“I don’t think that strategy really works,” said University of Southern Maine Professor of Political Science Ron Schmidt. “I think Trump supporters are going to feel alienated if they feel like Poliquin isn’t backing their man at a crisis moment, and that people who are opposed to Trump are going to feel like Poliquin isn’t giving them enough.”
But Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage said voters in Maine’s more conservative district don’t care.
“Their top concern is not who Bruce Poliquin is voting for,” said Savage. “Their top concern is... having a paycheck next week.”
Poliquin was not available for comment Wednesday. His campaign spokesperson pointed to a Portland Press Herald poll published in September that found 80 percent of voters in the district said Poliquin’s presidential endorsement would have little effect on their decision to vote for him. That poll was taken before Trump’s highly controversial 2005 comments about sexually assaulting women were made public.
The Congressman’s challenger, Democrat Emily Cain, said voters deserve to know where Poliquin stands.
“I think it’s not too much to ask for a sitting member of Congress, who wants to be trusted with making decisions about our country, to answer something as straightforward as ‘Who are you voting for,’” said Cain.