Congressman Mike Michaud (D-ME) put rumors about his sexual orientation to rest today in an op-ed piece for the Bangor Daily News. He may have caught his opponents off guard however, because rather than denying the rumors he instead said, in effect, “Yes the rumors are true. I am gay. So what?” Now Congressman Michaud is out of the closet and his political adversaries are somehow left scrambling trying to figure out what rumor to dig up next to try to derail Michaud’s campaign as he seeks to unseat Tea Party Republican Paul LePage.
After a series of push polls and insinuations about Michaud surfaced, the Maine Democrat came forward forcefully and submitted a statement that read in part…
When I entered the race for governor, I did so because I love the state of Maine and am tired of seeing it dragged in the wrong direction. There was never any question that it would be a tough race, but I know I have the vision, the experience and the commitment to lead Maine forward.
Once I jumped to an early lead in the polls, I knew it was only a matter of time before individuals and organizations intent on re-creating the uncertainty that led to our current governor’s election three years ago would start their attacks. Already my opponents have tried to blatantly distort my support for a woman’s right to choose and my tireless commitment to our nation’s veterans.
So I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay.
Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: “Yes, I am. But why should it matter?”
That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation millworker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.
By issuing this statement, Michaud has shown that he will not be bullied or silenced, now will he exercise the kind of mealy mouthed caution that often costs Democrats base support and loses elections. Instead, Michaud has addressed the issue with courage and grace. He will serve Maine well as Governor. The three most recent polls of the race show Michaud leading. Republican Governor Paul LePage should be making other plans for after 2014, because odds are he will lose his job to a gay Democrat. Michaud’s sexual orientation should not matter, but LePage’s inability to govern does, and that is what will matter most in November 2014.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.