The Democrats are taking aim at Maine’s two-term Republican congressman, Bruce Poliquin, with an advertising blitz that got underway Thursday.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee assailed Poliquin and 10 other GOP lawmakers it considers vulnerable in the wake of a House vote in May for a failed health care overhaul that critics said would have stripped millions of their coverage.

Poliquin isn’t fretting about it.

“Congressman Poliquin has had literally millions of dollars in false attack ads spent against him for years, and he remains focused on one thing: serving the people of Maine,” his consultant, Brent Littlefield, said Thursday.

Democrats, though, say this time around things may go better for them, pointing to national polls that show deep dissatisfaction with GOP efforts to dismantle existing health care programs and a lack of support for Republican President Donald Trump, who is leading the effort.

Cole Leiter, a spokesman for the group, said Poliquin, who represents Maine’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District, said the congressman is “another political dimension” from other GOP legislators under fire because U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, opposed the same bill he voted for.

The goal of the three-week ad campaign is to try to convince voters that Poliquin “will never stop trying” to destroy their access to affordable health insurance, Leiter said.

Radio spots are planned on five Maine stations that reach Poliquin’s constituents as well as television ads on cable and some digital ones targeted at Mainers who are online.

Poliquin won a tight race in 2014 for an open seat but had little trouble dispatching his challenger two years later in one of the most costly congressional races in America.

This time around, a handful of Democrats are vying for the opportunity to take him on in 2018, including House Majority Whip Jared Golden, of Lewiston; and Lucas St. Clair, one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The new ads zing what they call “the Washington establishment Republicans,” including Poliquin, and their zeal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation.

In the radio spot scheduled for drive-time play, the DCCC says Poliquin has “already voted to raise your out-of-pocket costs and premiums. To gut Medicaid, and treatment for opioid addiction. Impose what the AARP calls a devastating age tax if you’re 50 or older. And end guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, even cancer.”

Poliquin, however, has defended his vote and pointed out that the recent decision by Anthem to quit Maine’s individual insurance market shows that his warnings about the flaws in Obamacare remain true.

He said recently that he has offered market-based solutions to the law’s failings and called on the Senate to take action quickly “to fix the law.”

“The Obamacare exchanges are on the verge of collapse in many states,” Poliquin said in a prepared release. “The reality is that significant changes must be made; doing nothing is not an option.”

“It is unacceptable to do nothing. I continue to stand ready to work with anybody and everybody to act in Congress so that Mainers can be provided relief from the serious flaws of the Obamacare health care law,” he said.

The DCCC ad campaign, its largest since 2016, are slated to run on WBZN, WQCB, WVOM, WKIT, and WKSQ in Poliquin’s district. A television ad will appear on MSNBC and CNN, the group said.

While a detailed spending breakdown is not available, Democrats said their advertising campaign will cost more than $100,000.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.