Well, this is certainly a surprise. Congressman Mike Michaud, a Democrat for District 2 and gubernatorial candidate, announced in an OP-ed piece that he is gay. If Michaud should win next year’s election, he will be the first openly gay governor in the history of the state. He is also the first openly gay representative in history of Maine and is one of the few in the country. I applaud Michaud for coming out. It couldn’t have been easy but Michaud said that he didn’t want a campaign to out him, so he thought the time had come to announce it. Good for him.
It is hard to tell the initial reaction to the news since Michaud only came out this morning. So far, from what I’ve seen, Michaud still has many supporters. Of course, he has his opponents too, but we will have to wait and see the next poll before anybody can be sure of the actual impact. Some may say that this is a political move. If there is any instance when announcing your sexual orientation when you are a politician wouldn’t seem like a political move, I’d like to know what it is.
Personally, it surprises me that Michaud is gay, but I really don’t think it makes any difference. It doesn’t matter if Michaud is gay. He’s still Michaud. Michaud is still a very popular congressman. He still is a Franco-American and he still is the same person who worked in the mill for 29 years. I’ve met him a few times and he is an extremely nice man. Before this morning, he was a nice man who I thought was straight. Now, he’s a nice man who happens to be gay. Funny, how simple things can be. It doesn’t matter if Michaud is gay. He doesn’t want to make it an issue. It’s only an issue if you, the voter, wants to make it an issue.
Unfortunately, this won’t go without incident. There are going to be some who won’t vote for Michaud because they are disturbed by him coming out. I think that if some person is shallow enough not to vote for Michaud on the sole purpose of his sexual orientation, you got some larger problems to deal with. I also think that if Michaud’s coming out bothers a voter that much, he or she probably wouldn’t have voted for him in the first place.
He is who he is. We will likely talk about this for the next week or so, but then we’ll likely forget all about it. As for me, this won’t make any impact on whether or not I vote for Michaud. I’ll be voting for the candidate who I feel has the best chance of helping my friends from high school get jobs since being a journalism major, there is no politician who can create jobs in my market. Whether it’s Michaud or Cutler, I really haven’t decided yet. And Michaud coming out doesn’t make my decision any harder or easier.