U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, takes a question at a news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine – Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin raised $590,000 in the final three months of 2021, narrowing Rep. Jared Golden’s early fundraising lead.

The strong fundraising quarter for the former Republican congressman portends another expensive race in Maine’s competitive 2nd Congressional District this year. Golden, a Democrat, is a top target for national Republicans in a seat twice won by former President Donald Trump.

The Democratic congressman’s campaign announced last week that he had raised more than $450,000 in the final quarter of 2021 and just over $2 million total in the year, with more than $1.4 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

Poliquin’s reported fourth quarter haul brings his total fundraising to a bit shy of $1.5 million. His campaign said Monday morning that it had a bit less than $1.4 million cash on hand, suggesting it had spent very little so far. Neither candidate’s campaign has filed a formal report with the Federal Election Commission as of Monday morning, so exact totals are not yet available.

The 2018 race between Golden and Poliquin set Maine records with more than $23 million spent between the candidates and outside groups, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit that tracks campaign finance.

A rematch could be just as expensive. Poliquin must officially win a Republican primary first, although his opponents have raised few funds so far. Liz Caruso, a Caratunk selectman and anti-Central Maine Power corridor activist, has brought in just over $16,000, according to her federal filing. Garret Swazey of Bangor, who has also announced plans to run in the Republican primary, had not yet filed a report as of Monday morning.