This combination of file photos shows former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2017, left, and Rep. Jared Golden in 2018, right. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of the 2nd District and former Rep. Bruce Poliquin are lined up to debate just twice this fall, with each leaving offers from stations off schedules released Tuesday by their campaigns.

In 2020, Golden, a Democrat, debated former state Rep. Dale Crafts three times en route to a second term. Two years earlier, Golden and Poliquin, a Republican, debated twice during a contest decided by ranked-choice voting. Independent Tiffany Bond, a Portland lawyer who was also on the ballot that year, is running again this November.

Both campaigns released debate schedules on Tuesday, mutually agreeing again to just two debates in a race that is one of 32 in the U.S. House that is deemed a toss-up by the Cook Political Report. Republicans are favored to take back the chamber from Democrats this year.

The first debate will be hosted on Sept. 27 by News Center Maine in the Portland and Bangor markets and the second will be run by WAGM of Presque Isle, WABI of Bangor and the Aroostook Partnership, a regional economic development group.

The incumbent and challenger each left other debates off their schedules. While Golden agreed to a Sept. 26 debate on Maine Public, Poliquin did not schedule it. Golden rejected an offer from the Bangor Daily News and its media partner, WGME, a Portland CBS affiliate. Poliquin would have participated in that debate, which was set for the first half of October.

In a statement, Golden’s campaign noted that his slate covers all of Maine’s media markets and were selected to make sure voters “would have the opportunity to hear from the congressman and his opponents.”

“I’m looking forward to a great debate with [Rep.] Golden and a great discussion with the debate moderators,” Poliquin said in a statement. “Maine people are hurting and they know we need a change in Washington.”

The two have wrangled over debates in the past. Four years ago, the Maine Democratic Party hammered Poliquin for not debating Golden that year on Maine Public, the only TV and radio network that broadcasts statewide. That debate never went on.

Bond, the independent candidate, said she had been invited to all of the debates that appeared on both Golden and Poliquin’s schedules, although three of the four are contingent on her meeting a polling threshold to qualify for participation.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...