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Golden Wins Nation’s First Ranked-Choice Voting Runoff For A Congressional Seat

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn, during the ballot-tabulation process on Tuesday. In contrast to all the drama and national attention surrounding Maine's ranked-choice voting law, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's historic runoff announcement was rather understated. Photo by Robert F. Bukaty for Maine Public

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn, during the ballot-tabulation process on Tuesday. In contrast to all the drama and national attention surrounding Maine’s ranked-choice voting law, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s historic runoff announcement was rather understated. Photo by Robert F. Bukaty for Maine Public

Democrat Jared Golden became the first candidate to unseat an incumbent from Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in more than a century on Thursday when he was named the winner of the nation’s first ranked-choice voting runoff for a congressional contest.

Golden, a state legislator and combat veteran who served in the U.S. Marines, defeated Republican Bruce Poliquin after being lifted to victory by Maine’s landmark election law. The results capped a white-knuckle race that was marked by big spending, lawsuits and yet another legal test for ranked-choice voting.

Campaigns and outside groups spent over $20 million on the congressional seat that now belongs to the 36-year-old Golden. The money reflected the high stakes for national Democrats, who now have firm command of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. a state legislator and combat veteran who served in the U.S. Marines But in contrast to all the drama and national attention surrounding Maine’s ranked-choice voting law, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s historic runoff announcement was rather understated.

“So, what we see in round 2 is that Democrat Jared Golden has 50.53 percent of the vote, and Congressman Poliquin has 49.47 of the vote,” Dunlap said Thursday. “So it looks like Jared Golden is the apparent winner of the, uh, ranked-choice election.”

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