One of Maine's most famous residents, novelist Stephen King, has vowed to do everything in his power to unseat his own member of Congress, Rep. Jared Golden, if the first-term Democrat follows through with his decision to vote for only one of the two the articles of impeachment levied against President Donald Trump.
With the U.S. House of Representatives voting Wednesday on two articles of impeachment—one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing Congress—Golden on Tuesday announced his plans to vote in favor of the former but against the latter.
As the local Bangor Daily News reported, "Golden said he chose not to support the second article on obstructing Congress because House Democrats had not reached the threshold of 'high crimes and misdemeanors' and there are unanswered questions surrounding the charge."
The decision did not sit well with King:
If my congressman, Jared Golden, votes for only one article of impeachment, I will work with all my might to see him defeated next year.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 17, 2019
In a statement explaining his decision, Golden bragged about his voting record which includes aligning with Republicans and Trump on a number of issues.
"In my first year," said Golden, "I have ranked among the top five of 235 House Democrats in voting with the president. In a deeply divided and partisan Congress, the opportunities for agreement have often felt limited, but I have sought in good faith to work with him as best I can."
Maine's northern 2nd District—one of only two in the rural New England state—has a more Trump-friendly constituency than the progressive-leaning 1st District. While Golden—who considers himself a "moderate" Democrat—reclaimed the seat for his party in 2016, his unique position on the impeachment question has largely served only to anger voters on both sides of the aisle.
While King and others hammered Golden for the half-and-half maneuver, Republicans in Maine also voiced outrage. As the Bangor Daily News notes:
In a statement, Nina McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said Golden was "trying to have his cake and eat it too" on the issue. Republicans running for the nomination to face Golden in 2020 took similar lines in Tuesday statements.
Former state Rep. Dale Crafts of Lisbon Falls said in a statement that the congressman "plans to betray" pro-Trump constituents, while Adrienne Bennett, who was the spokeswoman for former Gov. Paul LePage, said Golden was "putting his concern for the Biden family" ahead of constituents. Former state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn called it "an insult" to the district.
King, a lifelong Democrat and supporter of political causes in his home state, was far from alone in condemning Golden for choosing a middling path on the issue of impeachment.
The comment sections on both Golden's Facebook page and at the Bangor Daily News article were both full of vitriol aimed at Golden, including left-leaning Mainers who echoed King and called for a Democrat to challenge the congressman in the 2020 primary.
One Facebook user, Susan Sargent, tied Golden to Maine's Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins:
Rep. Golden, with all due respect, your split the baby crazy ass impeachment reasoning and vote is unbelievably weak and wrong.
Mainer’s aren't dumb and we will you hold you accountable. But, I do give you major kudos for trying to follow in the footsteps of your former boss Sen. Susan Collins.
However, Collins is a master with the film-flam game. You, though Rep. Golden, are a light weight. Both of you should not be holding public office. Election Day is November 3, 2020. Vote NO on Collins. Vote NO on Golden.
"We need a Democratic Primary in the 2nd District," said one commenter at the Bangor Daily News. "Someone please step forward. You will win."