Poliquin wants 2 more years as treasurer

State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin wants two more years on the job.

In a blog entry he sent to subscribers this morning, Poliquin says he’s hoping to be re-elected to his constitutional post in December, when a newly elected Legislature makes its choices about filling the state’s three constitutional officer roles.

Poliquin was elected state treasurer in 2010 after Republicans took control of both chambers of the Legislature and he captured the endorsement of then-incoming Gov. Paul LePage. He edged out former House Minority Leader David Bowles for the post.

Whether Poliquin is successful in winning another term will, of course, depend on the outcome of November’s legislative contests. If Democrats capture enough seats, they’re almost guaranteed not to back Poliquin for re-election.

While the state treasurer has traditionally stayed out of policy debates, Poliquin played a visible role in advocating for changes to the state pension system to reduce the state’s unfunded liability and he played a central role in publicly criticizing Dale McCormick’s leadership of the Maine State Housing Authority.

McCormick stepped down from her post in March after nearly a year of outspoken, sharp criticism from Poliquin, LePage-appointed housing authority board chairman Peter Anastos and the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

In the process, Poliquin galvanized Democrats against him. Rep. Mark Dion, a Portland Democrat, asked Attorney General William Schneider last winter to rule on whether Poliquin had violated the state constitution by engaging in business dealings as state treasurer. In May, state Sen. Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham, called on Poliquin to resign, citing the constitutional requirement that the state treasurer not engage in commerce and the treasurer’s campaign against McCormick.

At the Maine Democratic Party’s convention in June, party chairman Ben Grant said to applause: “Right at the top of my list is sending Bruce Poliquin back to that tree farm in Georgetown.” Grant was referring to 10 acres of forest owned by Poliquin that he enrolled in the state’s tree growth tax break program in 2004 but never harvested in accordance with the tax break program’s terms.

Poliquin has since removed his 10 acres from the tree growth program.

Poliquin unsuccessfully ran for his party’s U.S. Senate nomination last month and for his party’s gubernatorial nomination in 2010, when LePage succeeded in a seven-way primary.