Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Racing the Whispers: Maine Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Michaud's Well-Timed Coming out Ahead of a Mysterious Whisper Campaign Instantly Made Him a National Figure

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Racing the Whispers: Maine Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Michaud's Well-Timed Coming out Ahead of a Mysterious Whisper Campaign Instantly Made Him a National Figure

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Last November, when Maine Congressman and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud came out, he grabbed the spotlight as the potential first openly gay governor-elect in the nation. But the announcement marked just the latest development in a political career unconventional by any standard.

Throughout his seven terms in the Maine Legislature and six terms in Congress, Michaud has walked a fine line between a conservative constituency and his party. Like his father and grandfather before him, Michaud worked for the local paper mill before he ran as an environmentalist fighting to clean up a local river polluted by his employer. He initially ran for Congress as pro-life against a pro-choice Republican, but has since changed his position. A member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative House Democrats, Michaud has voted consistently in favor of national health care and expanded benefits for veterans. Although he paid lip service to opposing same-sex marriage in 2004, the Human Rights Campaign gives him a near-perfect 95% score.

A sparsely populated state tucked into a French-speaking pocket of Canada, Maine has long exhibited fierce Yankee pride in its quirky politics and belief that anyone's private life is just that: private. "There were whispers," Mario Moretto, the state House reporter for the Bangor Daily News, tells The Advocate. "But I would never have dreamed of asking him. That's the way it is up here."

Two previous governors and a current senator are independents, while the other senator, a Republican, is moderate. As for LGBT issues, Maine began offering domestic partnerships in 2004 but voters repealed a same-sex marriage bill in 2009, only to reverse themselves three years later. In a tight three-way race against incumbent Tea Party hero GOP Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler, a former U.S. senator, Michaud had little to lose by coming out so early in his campaign, Moretto says. "This will not hurt him. It's just not a big deal."

A much bigger deal was made of Michaud's accusations of "whisper campaigns, insinuations and push polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.