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‘Stunning’: Historic victory for a Democrat in Maine after federal judge rejects GOP lawsuit

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Maine’s 2nd congressional district made history Thursday afternoon as it named Jared Golden the winner of his race for incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s (R-Maine) seat, after the state used ranked-choice voting for the first time in a national race to determine the winner.

Shortly after a federal judge rejected Poliquin’s lawsuit in which he attempted to halt the ranked-choice voting (RCV) process, election officials forged ahead in their tabulation of ballots and found that Golden won 50.53 percent of the vote, compared to Poliquin’s 49.47 percent.

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https://twitter.com/LWVME/status/1063124500873703425

“The first time ranked-choice voting is used in the state of Maine [and] we’ll have an instance where it will have made a difference—this is stunning,” Larry Diamond, a political scientist at Stanford University, told the Portland Phoenix ahead of the vote tabulation. “Either way it’s going to validate the logic of it, and it’s going to make for fairer elections.”

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Maine voters reaffirmed their support for RCV last June—after a previous vote in favor of the system was blocked by the legislature—ensuring that voters in the 2nd district could rank the four candidates for Poliquin’s seat in order from their favorite to least favorite when they went to the polls on Election Day.

One of the candidates would have had to gather more than 50 percent of the first-choice voters in order for the election to be called. When Poliquin won only 46 percent of the vote and Golden won 45.9 percent, election officials prepared to distribute two independent candidates’ supporters’ second and third choices until either the Democrat or Republican gained a majority.

Maine’s plan to become the first state to use RCV for a federal election was briefly threatened when Poliquin filed his lawsuit, claiming that it was unconstitutional to allow voters to rank their choices in order to ensure they are represented by a lawmaker with the majority of support.

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“There is a certain degree of irony because the remedy Plaintiffs seek could deprive more than 20,000 voters of what they understood to be a right to be counted with respect to the contest between Representative Poliquin and Mr. Golden,” wrote Judge Lance Walker in his opinion (pdf). “At oral argument, Plaintiffs emphasized that the First Amendment entitles them to express their support for their candidate. They feel that Maine is giving other voters disproportionate expression…The RCV Act actually encourages First Amendment expression, without discriminating against any given voter.”

“I am not persuaded that the United States Constitution compels the Court to interfere with this most sacred expression of democratic will,” the judge added.

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By Julia Conley, Common Dreams


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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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