Emily Cain Announcing 2016 Run For Congress

I have confirmed with three separate sources this morning that Democrat Emily Cain will be announcing a bid for Congress in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District today, potentially setting up a rematch, if she can make it through the primary, between her and Congressman Bruce Poliquin.

This is pure rumor mill, however, I trust these particular sources, and believe the information is accurate.  Emily Cain has made her decision and will run again.

Indeed, http://emilycain.com/ is live, and it features the typical blank signup sheet of a candidate, and new campaign branding (red? really?).

In the 2014 matchup, Cain lost to Poliquin 45.19% to 40.19% with Republican turned Independent third party candidate Blaine Richardson nabbing 10.62% of the vote.

Richardson has not indicated that he has any interest in entering the 2016 contest.  Given the righward tilt of the voters who chose him, it is not at all inappropriate to lump his vote total in with Bruce’s, and speculate as to what a one on one matchup with Cain might have looked like if Richardson was not in the race.

In that scenario, it would have looked more like 55.81% for Poliquin and 40.19% for Cain, or something in that neighborhood.  I have a lot of trouble envisioning any of Richardson’s voters choosing Cain over Poliquin if they had a two way choice.

That brings up a number of interesting questions for Cain in her second run:

What makes her a stronger candidate in 2016 than 2014?

Has she solved her major liabilities from the 2014?

Is she any more ideologically aligned with the second district than she was four months ago?

Speaking of four months ago, why now?  The last campaign barely ended and no one has had any time to relax.  Is another campaign – a seemingly perpetual campaign – really something the people want to see?

Who is pushing this?  Voters in the second district?  Or Washington political figures and groups?

Is she trying to clear the field and scare out other potential candidates?  Does anyone think Joe Baldacci or Troy Jackson or any one of the handful of other potential candidates will be intimidated out of running, given her 2014 performance?

Does this push her potential opponents into a decision now rather than later so as to not get financially crushed?

Does she believe that the presidential election year will be able to sweep her to victory, due to a hypothetically more Democratic electorate?

Given Poliquin’s incumbency, recent move toward the political center now that he is in office, and what will have to be a giant financial advantage, why does she even have any interest?  Is she seeing this race properly?

Honestly, as a political observer, I think it is a major mistake to a) run again at all and b) announce this early if she insists on running.

She likely thinks that 2016 will be a more Democratic electorate, given the presidential race and potential ballot issues, that she learned a lot of lessons last time, and that by announcing now, she can clear the field and begin fundraising the money necessary to win.

I see a candidate who is dramatically out of alignment with the district she is running in, ideologically, who will be facing off an established incumbent who will have a great deal more money than her, an established base, and a moderating tone for the voters to look at.  And I see Democratic rivals who think she blew it in 2014, and have no interest in stepping aside for her again.

Losing this race would likely end her aspirations for Federal or statewide office.  At least for a very, very long time.  So it is a huge risk to take.  If it were me, I’d have spent some time away from the public eye, worked for several years to turn my biggest liabilities into strengths, and come roaring back a stronger candidate.

I’ll admit, this smacks of career politician, and I don’t think it helps her win her race.  But we shall see, I suppose.


Now it is official.

Cain launches her bid by sending out an email that starts off “Dear brothers and sisters in labor” – as was reported by KJ’s Michael Shepherd:

Great way to show she is less ideologically leftist than she was in 2014.  Four months ago.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.