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Bruce Lee Poliquin /ˈpɒlɪˌkwɪn/ (born November 1, 1953) is an American businessman and politician. A Republican, he represented Maine's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. Poliquin was first elected to Congress in the 2014 general election.[1] From 2010 to 2012 he was the Maine State Treasurer.[2] He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012, finishing second in the primary election. In January 2017, at the start of the 115th United States Congress, Poliquin was the only Republican representing a U.S. House district in New England.

Bruce Poliquin
Bruce Poliquin official congressional photo.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byMike Michaud
Succeeded byJared Golden
49th Treasurer of Maine
In office
January 5, 2011 – January 7, 2013
GovernorPaul LePage
Preceded byDavid Lemoine
Succeeded byNeria Douglass
Personal details
Bruce Lee Poliquin

(1953-11-01) November 1, 1953 (age 66)
Waterville, Maine, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Jane Carpenter
(m. 1989; died 1992)

Judith Arbuckle
(m. 2004; div. 2009)
EducationHarvard University (BA)

Poliquin was defeated by Democrat Jared Golden in his 2018 run for reelection, and is the first incumbent to lose his seat in Maine's second district since 1916. Poliquin claimed the ranked-choice voting process used in the election was unconstitutional and claimed to be the winner because he led after the initial tally. He sued to be declared the winner and have ranked-choice voting declared unconstitutional, but his lawsuit was rejected. He conceded to Golden on December 24, 2018.

Early lifeEdit

Poliquin was born and raised in Waterville, Maine. He grew up in a family of French-Canadian ancestry. His father was a school principal and his mother was a nurse.[3] He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and later received a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where he studied economics, graduating in 1976.[4]


Investment managementEdit

After college Poliquin worked in the investment management industry in Chicago and New York City.[5] At Avatar Investors Associates Corporation, a fund management company, he helped manage nearly $5 billion in worker pension funds.[6]

Gubernatorial campaignEdit

In 2010 Poliquin sought the Maine Republican Party's nomination for governor of Maine. He spent $711,000 of his own money on the campaign and finished sixth of the seven candidates. Paul LePage won the nomination and Poliquin endorsed him.[7] Following LePage's election in November 2010, the Maine Legislature elected Poliqiun Maine State Treasurer.[7]

State TreasurerEdit

In 2011 Poliquin expressed concerns about the Maine State Housing Authority's plans to construct a low-income housing complex in Portland. Poliquin cited the proposed $314,000 per unit cost as an example of irresponsible government spending. Dale McCormick, the authority's director and an appointee of Democratic Governor John Baldacci, approved the proposal following a reduction in the per unit price to $265,000.[8]

In 2012 Maine Democrats accused Poliquin of violating the state constitution by engaging in commerce while in office. The complaints against Poliquin centered around his involvement with the Popham Beach Club, a private club in Phippsburg, Maine, and Dirigo Holdings LLC, a real estate company. Maine Attorney General William Schneider advised Poliquin to disassociate himself from his business ventures but did not offer an opinion as to whether he had actually violated the Constitution. The Maine House voted unanimously to send the issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to settle the matter. The Court declined to offer a ruling, concluding that there were no circumstances in Poliquin's case requiring immediate attention.[9]

In February 2012 some Democrats criticized Poliquin for his use of the Maine Tree Growth Tax Program, a program meant to preserve forestland from development pressures for commercial timber harvesting, with 10 acres of his oceanfront property in Georgetown. The program reduced the value of his property from the originally assessed $1.8 million to $725,500, resulting in Poliquin paying $30 a year in property taxes. A 2009 Maine Forest Service report discussed Poliquin's property as an example of one that might not be fully complying with the law, stating that restrictions on timber harvesting in shoreland areas would limit any commercial use of the land. But the report acknowledged that as long as the property was 10 acres it could remain in the program.[10][11] Poliquin later transferred the property in question to the Open Space program, a less generous tax abatement program. He said the issue was a distraction for the town and was politically motivated by Democrats' dissatisfaction with his policies as treasurer.[10]

At the end of his term Poliquin wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News with a list of his accomplishments as treasurer. These included reforms to the state workers' pension plan, efforts to reduce the cost of affordable housing, reduced wasteful spending, and retention of the state's Aa2 bond rating.[12]

Post-treasurer careerEdit

In March 2012 Poliquin announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.[13] He lost the Republican primary to Charlie Summers, who lost the general election to Independent former governor Angus King.

On July 10, 2013, Poliquin said he was not interested in becoming the Chairman of the Maine Republican Party, despite encouragement to do so from many Republicans, including Governor LePage.[14]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

2014 electionEdit

In August 2013 Poliquin announced that he would seek the Maine Republican Party's nomination for the Second Congressional District.[15][16]

Poliquin won the primary election against former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye and faced Democratic State Senator Emily Cain and Independent retired Navy captain Blaine Richardson in the general election.[1] Poliquin won with 47% of the vote.[17][18]

2016 electionEdit

Poliquin ran for reelection in 2016. He was a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, which was designed to help protect vulnerable Republican incumbents in the 2016 election. Poliquin ran unopposed in the primary election. He faced Democrat Emily Cain, whom he beat in 2014, in the November 8 general election.[19] Poliquin defeated Cain with 55% of the vote.[20]

2018 electionEdit

Describing Poliquin on February 10, 2018, as "the last of an endangered species" as a House Republican from New England, the Boston Globe wrote that his "fight against extinction" was "looking more dire," with "Democrats' leaders looking to make New England a clean sweep in 2018."[21]

In the general election Poliquin faced Democratic nominee Jared Golden and independent candidates Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar. At an October debate Poliquin refused to commit to accepting the results of Maine's ranked-choice election if he lost.[22][23] After the election Poliquin sued to block the ranked-choice tabulation of results before it began.[24] The judge denied his request on November 15, and rejected Poliquin's lawsuit on December 13.[25][26]

Golden defeated Poliquin by nearly 3,000 votes.[25] It was the first time that since 1916 that the 2nd's incumbent has been unseated in an election.[27]

On November 10, 2018, a Poliquin campaign spokesperson raised concerns about the vote count in the race, alleging that some voter boxes lacked proper locks and that a Bangor polling clerk counted ballots unmonitored, which the Maine Journals interpreted as an accusation of voter fraud. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap called the claims "a distraction" and cautioned the campaign to avoid "irresponsible" attempts to slow down the tabulation process and erode faith in the system.[28]


In January 2015 Poliquin voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.[29]

On April 29, 2015, Poliquin introduced his first bill, the Child Support Assistance Act of 2015. Co-sponsored with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), it was intended to help single parents secure child support payments by making it harder for the other parent to hide property or funds.[30] The bill was rolled into a transportation bill that passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.[31]

Poliquin voted against granting the president fast-track authority in negotiating trade agreements on June 12, 2015, saying that Congress should be able to help shape such agreements.[32]

In September 2015 Poliquin was one of ten Republican U.S. House freshmen who signed a letter urging Republicans to avoid a government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill a week before federal agencies were slated to run out of money.[33]

In April 2016 Poliquin and Chellie Pingree (ME-1) proposed legislation that would allow Cuban-bound flights to make technical stops at American airports for refueling and restocking. The bill's purpose was to prevent American airports from losing business to Canada.[34]

Poliquin and Niki Tsongas (MA-3) pushed legislative efforts begun during the tenure of his Democratic predecessor, Mike Michaud, to require the U.S. Department of Defense to purchase U.S.-made sneakers.[35]

Poliquin opposed the creation of a national park or national monument in the Maine North Woods. He called for congressional hearings in the region where the proposed park is now, and said that federal officials and non-local supporters ignored the concerns of local residents who opposed it. He proposed a bill to limit the president's Antiquities Act power to declare national monuments.[36]

Poliquin was a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership[37] and the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus.[38]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Political issuesEdit


In November 2017 Poliquin said he would vote for the new Republican tax bill, whose framers had dismissed "a late suggestion by President Donald Trump to lower the top rate on high-wage earners." As paraphrased by The Washington Times, Poliquin said the proposal "would help Maine residents by doubling the standard deduction and increasing tax credits for children ... while keeping taxes low for small businesses and making large businesses more competitive by bringing the corporate rate into line with other industrialized countries." "We want to eliminate as many of these loopholes and special-interest carve-outs that only the wealthy and well-connected are able to take advantage of," he said, describing the work on the bill as "very methodical, very transparent and very thoughtful." Noting that he had voted earlier in November "to move the tax proposal forward in the House, trusting the Senate would continue to work on it and improve it," he expressed approval of the changes Senator Susan Collins and others made "that will benefit Maine families and small businesses, such as retaining the medical expense deduction and improving the provision dealing with historic tax credits."[40][41]


In December 2017 the International Trade Commission ruled 4–0 to activate tariffs on Chinese hardwood plywood, thus leveling the playing field for U.S. wood products, a decision Poliquin had urged upon them at an October hearing. The Democratic Leader of the Maine State Senate, Troy Jackson (D-Allagash), praised Poliquin "for his successful efforts to fight against illegal and unfair foreign trade". Garry Gillespie of Columbia Forest Products said, "On behalf of the 161 Columbia Forest Products employees in Presque Isle, Maine, we are both thrilled and thankful with the results at the ITC."[42]

Buying AmericanEdit

In March 2016 Poliquin testified before the House Armed Services Committee in support of U.S. military use of American-made products. In April 2016 Poliquin's Stepping Up for American Workers and Troops Act required that the Department of Defense adhere to the 1941 Berry Amendment, which requires it to give preference to American-made products. The Maine Wire praised Poliquin for having thereby saved 900 Maine jobs.[43]


On February 3, 2015, Poliquin was one of three House Republicans to vote against repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.[44] His spokesman said that while Poliquin supported repeal, the proposed bill did not offer a "free-market alternative" to immediately take its place, which he felt was needed.[45] Poliquin was subsequently criticized by conservative groups seeking immediate repeal of the law, including the Republican Liberty Caucus, which voted on February 5, 2015, to rescind their endorsement of him. Poliquin responded that House had voted numerous times to repeal the law without effect, and that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."[46]

In his 2016 reelection campaign Poliquin ran on repealing the Affordable Care Act.[47] On May 4, 2017, he voted to pass the American Health Care Act, which would have effectively repealed the ACA and included cuts to Medicaid.[48][49][50] He said it included the best parts of previous attempts to repeal the ACA.[51] He received criticism for taking money from insurance companies and avoiding discussions of his vote to repeal.[52][53][54][55] In his 2018 campaign the health care section of Poliquin's website no longer explicitly mentioned the Affordable Care Act.[47]

In 2018 Poliquin co-sponsored legislation that would have cut $7 billion of federal aid to children's health insurance.[56][57]

Veterans affairsEdit

In October 2017 Poliquin announced plans for the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act, which would "reduce red tape" for nursing homes treating veterans.[58]

In November 2017 Poliquin questioned officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. The hearing followed a report by the Government Accountability Office detailing the VA's "failure to report potentially dangerous medical practitioners to their national database, which is intended to prevent such bad actors from crossing state lines and putting patients at risk elsewhere." Poliquin later introduced legislation requiring VA medical professionals to report malpractice at the VA to state licensing boards.[59]


In March 2018 Poliquin criticized his Democratic challengers, writing that "illegal immigration is still illegal. We are a country of immigrants, but we are also a Nation of Laws. People entering America must do so legally, otherwise they are not immigrants, they are illegals." He added: "This common-sense position is not shared by a single one of my four opponents....They are more concerned with appeasing the extreme far left and having the support of Nancy Pelosi."[60]

LGBT issuesEdit

In May 2016 Poliquin voted against a measure intended to uphold an executive order that barred discrimination against LGBT employees by religious organizations that contract with the federal government. He was one of seven House Republicans to switch their votes at the last minute under pressure from Republican House Leadership. After criticism from Democrats, he issued a statement saying, "I am outraged that political opponents or members of the press would claim or insinuate that I cast a vote due to pressure or party politics. No one controls my vote", and that he abhorred discrimination in any form.[61]


In 2016 Poliquin drafted a bill that would prohibit the federal government from giving food stamps to individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes. He said the legislation would close a loophole that allows convicted terrorists to apply for aid.[62]


In December 2017 the House passed Poliquin's Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act by a 289-135 vote. His fourth bill to pass the House that year, it required the public disclosure of the assets of Iran's regime. "Reports have indicated these funds are being used to support and sponsor terrorism around the region and to undermine our own national security interests. Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, cannot be trusted and it's important for the security of the region and for the United States for these secret funds to be exposed publicly to the world."[63]

Personal lifeEdit

On February 11, 1992, Poliquin's wife, Jane, drowned in a swimming accident at the Palmas del Mar Beach Resort in Humacao, Puerto Rico.[64] Poliquin's father-in-law, James Carpenter, was also killed in the accident.[65] Jane's death made Poliquin a single parent to his 16-month-old son.[66]

In 2009 Poliquin divorced his second wife, Judith Arbuckle.[67]

While in Washington, Poliquin slept in his office, in a pull-down bed he installed in 2015.[68]

As of 2016 Poliquin was ranked as the 17th-wealthiest member of the House, with an estimated net worth of over $12 million.[69]

In March 2018 a Maine news source reported that Poliquin had sold his 2nd District home in January.[70]

On January 31, 2018, Poliquin was one of several members of Congress who were traveling to a legislative retreat in West Virginia when their train collided with a truck just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one person. Poliquin sustained minor injuries.[71]

On September 20, 2019, President Donald Trump nominated Poliquin as chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.[72]


  1. ^ a b "GOP's Bruce Poliquin wins 2nd Congressional District primary". Bangor Daily News. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
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  3. ^ Shepherd, Michael (October 6, 2014). "Poliquin's energy pushes his 2nd Congressional District run". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  4. ^ Robinson, Steve (April 17, 2014). "Well-funded Poliquin campaign releases first ad". Maine Wire. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  5. ^ Pathe, Simone (May 20, 2015). "At the Races — Roll Call's Politics Blog Why This Vulnerable Freshman Is Surprising People". Roll Call. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
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  9. ^ Russell, Eric (March 29, 2012). "Maine Supreme Court says it won't rule in Poliquin complaint". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
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  26. ^ "Federal court rules against Bruce Poliquin's challenge of ranked-choice voting". Lewiston Sun-Journal. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  27. ^ Kate Taylor; Liam Stack (November 15, 2018). "Maine's Bruce Poliquin, Lone Republican in House From New England, Loses Re-election". The New York Times.
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  42. ^ Cassella, Megan; Sens. CITC to hear final arguments in China plywood case today; Politico; October 26, 2017;
  43. ^ Fryer, Joanne; A Personal Thank You to Bruce Poliquin; Maine Wire; December 8, 2016;
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  54. ^ "These vulnerable Republicans really don't want voters to remember they tried to repeal Obamacare". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
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  58. ^ Collins, Steven Bruce Poliquin focuses on helping veterans get services; Sun Journal; October 19, 201;
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  61. ^ "Poliquin among 7 House Republicans to switch votes, defeating gay rights protection". 19 May 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  62. ^ Blake, Andrew (February 1, 2016). "Bruce Poliquin proposes 'No Welfare for Terrorists Act,' looks to close food stamps loophole". Washington Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  63. ^ Gehrke, Joel; House votes to expose wealth of Iranian leaders; Washington Examiner; September 21, 2016;
  64. ^ "Colby honors art professor, daughter, drowning victims". Bangor Daily News. February 13, 1992. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  65. ^ Lambert, Bruce (February 15, 1992). "James Carpenter, 77, Ex-Leader Of Colby College Art Department". New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
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  70. ^ Shepherd, Michael; Bruce Poliquin sold his family home, reviving questions about his 2nd District residence; Fiddlehead Focus; March 20, 2018;
  71. ^ Maine Congressman Bruce Poliquin on board Amtrak train involved in Virginia crash; WGME; January 31, 2018;
  72. ^ Shepherd, Michael (September 20, 2019). "Trump nominates former Maine congressman to chair a federal investment protection organization". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 20 September 2019.

External linksEdit