Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)’s race for the Senate seat in Maine is tight – and there are some who have criticized flaws in his record – but there’s no doubt he’s a solid conservative. Major conservative groups have endorsed him, including Freedom Works, Concerned Women for America, and Senator Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) of Utah. Americans for Prosperity Maine Chapter 2011 gave him a hero to the taxpayers award, as well.
Governor Paul LePage, who is the most overt Tea Party governor in the country and ran against Poliquin in the primary race for governor, urged the Maine State Legislature to elect Poliquin as treasurer. LePage wanted Poliquin because he thought Poliquin could clean up the state’s biggest fiscal problem, its unfunded pension liabilities. Poliquin worked hard to accomplish that goal; last year he helped reduce the liabilities by 40% by tirelessly explaining the problem and his solution via appearances in town halls across the state. You can find the powerful argument he made here.
Not only did Poliquin target pension liabilities, he also exposed wasteful spending by the Maine State Housing Authority.
In a interview last August, Poliquin articulated his positions on various matters, and they are quite conservative.
On the federal debt ceiling agreement:
“It’s a disgrace. They had an opportunity to really fix this thing and they dropped the ball. When you have a deal that allows the folks that got us into this mess to borrow another $900 million immediately but not implement tax cuts for another 10 years, I think it’s a disgrace and an embarrassment. I’m convinced we need a balanced budget amendment.”
On publicly referring to Maine’s pension crisis as a “monster” and the possibility that using such strong language sully the state’s reputation in the rating firms’ eyes:
“I don’t use the word ‘crisis.’ ‘Monster?’ Absolutely. It’s not a problem if you have the cash. In May, we convinced the ratings agencies to give us the benefit of the doubt, and they held our rating steady. They’ve been crunching our numbers for decades. They know more about our finances than I would ever know. I call it telling the truth.”
Before he launched his career in politics, Poliquin worked for a company that managed $5 billion in pension, endowment and foundation assets. When he was sworn in as State Treasurer, he said, “unfettered growth in debt is dangerous,” and vowed to guard against any additional state borrowing so future taxpayers would not foot the bill. He would not “kick a fiscal can down the street.”
And as far as Poliquin’s gun record, it’s solid – he receives a high rating from the NRA.
There is little doubt that Poliquin is a strong conservative. Whatever flaws he has do not diminish that central and most compelling fact.