Friday, April 18, 2014
Maine political junkies pretty much assume that former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin will run for something in 2014. Some wonder if he'll undertake a primary challenge against U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Others think the Waterville native will relocate to the 2nd Congressional District and take a stab at the seat likely to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine.
A recent public records request will certainly feed speculation about the CD-2 run.
On June 24 Poliquin filed a Freedom of Access Act request with Chris Roney, the general counsel for the Finance Authority of Maine. FAME is the quasi-state agency that provides financial assistance to Maine businesses. Poliquin is interested in documents related to Moosehead Furniture Co. in Monson.
Why? Because in 2008 FAME backed a loan for the company, which had been taken over by two new owners, Dana Connors, now the head of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and Josh Tardy, the former Republican House leader.
Tardy, now a State House lobbyist, is also considering a CD-2 run. If he does his venture with Moosehead Furniture is likely to become an issue during what could be a crowded Republican primary. The company went belly-up in 2010, putting approximately 40 people out of work.
It looks like Poliquin is getting an early jump on the opposition research .
Those who followed the 2010 Republican gubenatorial primary will remember that Poliquin isn't afraid to go negative should the occasion call for it. Some consider his "Less Jobs" attack against frontrunner Les Otten to have sealed the primary for the eventual winner, Paul LePage. Poliquin has also twice retained the services of GOP operative Tyler Harber, who has been accused of deploying some unorthodox tactics.
All of which makes Poliquin's FAME FOAA intriguing. It's also noteworthy that Poliquin was on the FAME board of trustees when he was the state treasurer.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.