Democrat Joe Baldacci announced Friday he’s dropping out of the primary race against Emily Cain for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

In a post on his Facebook page, Baldacci said the most important thing Democrats can do is unite and not divide resources in the race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican.

Baldacci announced his candidacy about seven months ago and was considered to have a tough challenge against Cain, a former state senator from Orono who was the party’s nominee for the seat in 2014 before losing to Poliquin.

Baldacci, 50, a Bangor city councilor and lawyer who is the brother of John Baldacci, the former governor, said in his Friday statement that when he first thought about running a year ago, a regional director of the party in Washington, D.C., asked him if he was “married to a billionaire.”

“This was my first indication that this fight might be an uphill one,” Baldacci wrote Friday, adding: “But the reality is, I’m not married to a billionaire. I am a small business owner. I have seven people in my employ who count on me for their livelihood. I have a wife and two daughters, whose futures I’m not prepared to mortgage in order to compete with the unlimited amount of out of state money, which is what would be required in this race.”

In a statement on her Facebook page, Cain called Baldacci “a true statesmen.”


“What he did today was selfless and brave, and in the best interest of the people of Maine,” Cain said in the statement.

As Baldacci has struggled differentiate himself from Cain, the party’s campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has been fully behind Cain’s candidacy.

Cain’s kind words for Baldacci on Friday come despite earlier jabs he took at her. When asked in June about the party’s support of Cain, Baldacci said, “Washington insiders aren’t going to decide this election. The people of Maine are.” Baldacci also had dismissed Cain’s many out-of-state endorsements, including by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, saying he didn’t think “politicians in Washington are going to control the election in Maine.”

Baldacci, a Bangor native, said his message of fighting for people and for bread-and-butter economic issues was better suited in the contest against Poliquin. His campaign slogan — “Maine Born, Maine Bred, Maine First” — was apparently a poke at Cain, who was born in Kentucky and lived in Illinois before attending the University of Maine.

But Baldacci never was able to keep pace with Cain’s fundraising. According to Federal Election Commission records, Baldacci reported he had raised about $160,000 in 2015 — he didn’t formally enter the race until July — while Cain reported $770,000 in fundraising in 2015.

Poliquin, of Oakland, eclipsed them both, reporting $1.8 million in fundraising for the year.


In a sign of the political battle to come, Cain also took aim at Poliquin in her Friday statement, saying Baldacci “understands that the biggest barrier to prosperity for working families in Maine’s Second District is Bruce Poliquin.”

But Poliquin’s campaign immediately fired back, with spokesman Brent Littlefield noting the congressman’s legislative accomplishments.

In an emailed statement, he said that “while some are focused on politics,” Poliquin “is focused on jobs in Maine.”

Littlefield also included a link posted on Poliquin’s Twitter account in which the incumbent thanks Democratic Rep. Juan Vargas of San Diego County, California, for support of a small-business bill that Poliquin sponsored and that passed in the House 390-1 on Monday. The bill, “Small Business Capital Formation Enhancement Act,” aims to provide capital financing for small businesses to expand and hire more employees.

Earlier this week, Poliquin joined Maine’s other U.S. representative, Democrat Chellie Pingree of the 1st District, in throwing support behind a bill that would exempt sea urchins and sea cucumbers from federal inspection when they’re imported or exported, according to the Associated Press.


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