The Latest: Democrat flips U.S. House seat in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. House race in Maine (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

A Democrat who finished behind Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the first round of balloting has come from behind to flip the seat in the second of its two U.S. House races.

Election officials declared Jared Golden the winner Thursday after a federal judge denied Poliquin's request to halt tabulations under Maine's new voting system.

The outcome was a dramatic reversal in a four-way race.

Poliquin received the most first-place votes on Election Day but additional tallies were required because no one won a majority.

The ranked-choice voting system lets voters rank candidates from first to last on the ballot. It provides for eliminations of last-place candidates and reallocations of votes.

Maine's election marked the first use of the system in U.S. House and Senate races. A lawsuit by Poliquin contends the system is unconstitutional.

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10:50 a.m.

A federal judge has declined to halt tabulations under Maine's new voting system, putting the state on the path to declaring a winner in the second of its two U.S. House races.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is challenging the constitutionality of Maine's ranked-choice voting system used for the first time in congressional races in Maine.

Judge Lance Walker declined Thursday to stop the process.

Final tabulations are expected around Thursday afternoon in the race between Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden.

Poliquin, who had an edge in first-round votes, said he has a duty to challenge the new voting system on constitutional grounds. Voters approved it in 2016.

The lawsuit remains alive because Walker didn't rule Thursday on the constitutionality of the system.

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10:30 a.m.

Maine election officials are preparing for final tabulations in the first congressional election to be decided by ranked balloting even as they await a federal judge's ruling on a request to halt the tallies.

The secretary of state declined a request by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin to stop the election process without a court order. Final tabulations and an announcement of the winner are expected around noon Thursday.

A federal judge, meanwhile, said he aims to weigh in Thursday on Poliquin's lawsuit seeking to overturn Maine's new voting system.

Poliquin is in a tight race with Democrat Jared Golden.

Both candidates collected about 46 percent of Maine's 2nd Congressional District votes in the first round of counting. The ranked system requires additional voting rounds until someone receives a majority.

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12:20 a.m.

The counting continues in the first U.S. House race to be determined by a ranked balloting system, while a decision looms on a lawsuit designed to stop it.

A federal judge said he aims to weigh in Thursday on a lawsuit joined by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin seeking to overturn Maine's new voting system. Poliquin's in a tight race with Democratic state Rep. Jared Golden, who has a chance to win the seat based on second-choice ballots.

The secretary of state declined Poliquin's request to stop the election process without a court order. Workers continue counting ballots Thursday.

Both candidates collected about 46 percent of Maine's 2nd Congressional District votes in the first round of counting. Poliquin held a slim edge, and declares himself the "fair and square" winner.

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