What’s up with Jared Golden, the most successful Democrat in Trumpland?


Maine’s second district U.S. Representative, Jared Golden, has been causing a lot of heartburn among fellow Democrats of late. He was the only member of the party not to vote for both the articles of impeachment against President Trump in December 2019, one of two to vote against enhanced background checks and the George Floyd police reform bill, and the sole dissenter on the recent Covid relief bill, which polling shows has overwhelming public support, including from a majority of Republicans. Add to that his opposition to reappointing Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and his refusal to endorse Democratic nominee Sara Gideon in her ill-fated race against Sen. Susan Collins last year and a lot of them are unhappy.

Except Golden — a Marine veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq who studied politics at Bates and worked as a Homeland Security committee staffer for Collins — has done things few other Democrats can. In 2018 became the first person to defeat an incumbent in his district in 102 years, taking out a two-term Republican who sat on the campaign fund-generating banking committee. Last year he got over 30,000 Trump voters to back his reelection, helping him win a district by 6.3 percent that went for Trump by 7.4. His margin of victory is the highest of any House Democrat in a Trump district.

But what’s his governing philosophy? Why does he vote the way he does? Does it work for his constituents? What’s it mean for any future bid for statewide office? I sat down the Golden — who is notoriously inaccessible to the press — for two hours to answer those questions in this Maine Sunday Telegram profile, which also appeared in his hometown Sun Journal. Hope you find it useful.