Lance Dutson: Here we are, finally, just a few days before the end of the most expensive congressional race in Maine history. And yet after all these millions of dollars, I still don’t know what Emily Cain’s message is. I’m pretty sure her campaign signs simply say “I’m not Bruce.” Am I missing something?
Steven Biel: To me, the choice is very clear. Bruce Poliquin does what’s best for Bruce Poliquin, period. He wants to repeal the rules passed after the Wall Street meltdown because that’s what will make him and his donors richer. On trade, LGBT rights, even Obamacare — he waffles until the polls and donors tell him what’s best for him. Even Donald Trump Jr. said that Bruce is only out for himself. Emily is the only candidate who will fight for everyday Mainers.
Lance: We’re both jaded enough to know that “fighting for everyday Mainers” is feel-good fluff. What’s she actually going to do? Bruce is going to vote to lower taxes and protect against unfair trade practices because he knows that Maine’s Second District needs jobs more than anything. He’ll fight the tax-and-spend liberalism that Emily Cain practically trademarked in Augusta. I think we can agree that’s what he’ll do — it’s just that I like that approach and you don’t. However, we can’t have the same discussion about Emily because she hasn’t laid out any recognizable policy positions other than “fighting for Maine.”
Steven: I have no idea what Bruce will do except look out for himself. We still don’t even know if he’s for Trump. But I’ll give you an example of what “fighting for Maine” means. Last year, the GE plant in Bangor lost out on 80 jobs because of tea party obstruction of a popular, bipartisan program to boost American jobs. Bruce could have gone to his party and demanded action. Instead he was calibrating his political self-interest until the last minute when it was too late. Emily would have focused from day one on those jobs.
Lance: Again, nothing but “Bruce stinks.” Incumbents don’t lose in the Second District, and she’s run the same stale, D.C. consultant campaign she ran last time. Only this time it lasted longer and bored people even more. Barring a last-minute Trump collapse in the presidential race, I’m confident Bruce will start his second term as congressman in January.
Steven: I disagree. It’s going to be very close, but I think Emily is going to win because she’s going to pick up independents and Republicans turned off by Bruce’s self-serving agenda.
Lance: OK. How about the rest of the ballot? Will Trump get that CD2 electoral vote? I still say no.
Steven: Actually, I disagree. Trump will fall short overall, but I think the Comey effect will give Trump enough of a boost to split the state’s electoral votes for the first time ever. I also think that despite a presidential year and a good class of recruits, Maine Dems will fall short of taking back the state Senate.
Lance: I think you’re right. The GOP Senate team, led by Senate President Mike Thibodeau, has deftly separated these individual races from the national GOP train wreck, and I think they’ll be in charge again once the dust settles. I also think that Republicans will pull the upset and hold control of the U.S. Senate.
Steven: Disagree there. I think it’ll be a 50-50 tie with the new Vice President Tim Kaine casting the deciding vote — which will be rightly viewed as a disappointment for Democrats in a year when they could have gotten to a 54- or 55-seat majority. How about the ballot initiatives? I think pot will fall short, but the rest look poised to pass.
Lance: I predict that background checks and minimum wage will pass, but not marijuana, Stand Up for Students, or ranked choice voting. (And for full disclosure, I work with the Yes on 3 campaign.)
Steven: At least we can agree that if readers don’t like our predictions, they should all go knock on some doors this weekend and prove us wrong.