Maine housing officials say House candidate’s story is fake

A Republican congressional hopeful in a highly competitive race in Maine is spreading misinformation about the state’s housing policies, public housing directors have said.

Former Representative Bruce Poliquin is challenging Democratic Rep. Jared Goldenwho narrowly beat the Republican in 2018. During his campaign, Poliquin relayed the story of a woman living in his car who allegedly told him she had been taken off a housing list because of immigrants living illegally in the country.

Poliquin, who has focused his campaign on issues such as reducing immigration and protecting gun rights, used the anecdote as part of his argument for increased border security.

The Maine Association of Public Housing Authority Directors reprimanded the story on Thursday with a statement to the Bangor Daily News who did not name the candidate but came in response to his statements. The statement said, “Such misinformation erodes trust in the public housing system on which so many individuals and families depend for safe, quality affordable housing, and it cannot be left uncorrected.”

Eligibility for federal housing assistance is limited to U.S. citizens and noncitizens who have eligible immigration status, according to federal rules.

Poliquin told the story during an interview with WCSH-TV when he said he met the woman at an event in Lewiston. He said she told him she was high on the list to get an apartment, but was “rejected from the list because people came to this country illegally.”

Roy Mathews, a spokesman for Poliquin, said Friday the story was genuine but offered no evidence to back it up.

“Bruce was raising this middle-aged homeless woman’s voice and experience with her need for available housing in Maine,” he said. “This reality is very troubling.

The appeal of Trump-style politics has grown in the district since the 2018 election despite being represented by Golden, a moderate Democrat. Poliquin, who represented the 2nd District as a moderate Republican from 2014 to 2018, shifted his own message to the right to try to take advantage of these headwinds.

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