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ELECTION 2014: Historic Race For LGBT Americans In Maine

Matty 3
(Congressman Michaud and his campaign manager)

BY DAVID MIXNER

The path to equal rights for LGBT Americans has been filled with historic political milestones.

The elections of Massachusetts State Representative Elaine Noble and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk to public office made history in the 1970's. Houston's Annise Parker and Seattle's Ed Murray made history by being elected mayor of their cities. The coming out of Congressman Barney Frank broke the glass ceiling in Congress. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin became the first openly LGBT Senator in history in the last election.

MaineNow looming on the horizon in November is the possibility that the first openly gay governor could be elected in Maine. Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud is currently narrowly leading in the polls. The Democratic candidate 'came out' to the people of Maine at the beginning of the campaign.

LGBT history is waiting to be made one more time and the Tea Party is gearing up to stop it.

Maine's gubernatorial race has three candidates. The incumbent Tea Party Republican Governor Paul LePage, third party candidate Eliot Cutler, and Democratic Congressman Michaud. If Cutller wasn't in the race, Michaud would most likely win in a landslide.

In an interview for this column, Michaud's campaign manager Matthew McTighe said:

"Even though there are three candidates, it's clearly shaping up to be a close two-way race between Mike Michaud and our current Tea Party governor, Paul LePage. All of the polls have the two of them within a few points of one another, with Mike ahead in most and the third-party candidate trailing way behind. But we feel very confident in our path to victory no matter how many candidates stay in the race."

MichaudWhen asked about the impact of the Congressman's coming out on his chances in November, McTighe responded:

"Honestly, it hasn't made much of a difference, at least not in the polls or in the growing momentum we've seen building for Mike's candidacy. I think that's a testament to the fact that Mainers have really come a long way on LGBT issues, which I know firsthand, having run the marriage equality campaign here in 2012. In 2009, voters in Maine rejected marriage, but just three years later we won convincingly. Moreover, people know Mike. They trust him, they like him, and they know his coming out won't change who he is."

While there has been no serious 'gay-baiting' of Michaud yet, it is expected that radical right-wing groups will create some nasty last minute ads and mailings in an attempt to derail his election. Interestingly many believe such attempts in Maine might backfired and assist the Congressman instead of hurting him.

The Washington Post column The Fix says that Maine voters are the second most likely to defeat an incumbent Governor. As a result, Republicans are gearing up around the country to pour money into the state. McTighe hopes that LGBT Americans and progressives will respond to this chance to make history.

"Well I wish it wasn't the case, but as you know money is critically important in high-profile races like this. The Republican Governors Association is going to spend millions to reelect Paul LePage, and they're already attacking Mike. We need the resources to defend against their attacks, and that will require a lot of help from people all over the country."

As a debate rages in the LGBT community who should get credit for making history, here is an opportunity to look not backward but forward. Help Congressman Michaud and his team out HERE if you so wish. Without question this is one of the community's most important races in 2014.

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Comments

  1. Great to hear that Matthew McTighe is running Michaud's campaign. He did a great job as campaign manager for Mainer's United for Marriage.

    Posted by: Stefan | Apr 27, 2014 2:16:43 PM


  2. Actually, Sam Adams of Portland was the first openly gay person elected mayor of a major US city. I can understand why some might want to ignore him, but we shouldn't ignore the historical record.

    Posted by: Merv | Apr 27, 2014 2:17:33 PM


  3. Thank you for the historical perspective.

    Posted by: Gary Bebout | Apr 27, 2014 2:40:17 PM


  4. I'm really worried about Cutler being a spoiler in this race, like he was in the one that got that asshat LePage elected in the first place.

    Posted by: John C | Apr 27, 2014 3:13:50 PM


  5. Eliot Cutler is the reason why Maine has a Tea Bagger troglodyte Republican governor, Paul LePage. Cutler is a perennial candidate, always a loser, and general whiner about how nobody else measures up to his superior standards of politics. Last time enough dumb Maine voters split the anti-Republican vote by voting for Cutler and LePage won with only about 40% of the vote. He and his fellow Tea Baggers have made a mess of a previously well-governed state. Are there going to be enough dumb Maine voters this time around to give LePage another four years or will people finally use their heads, vote for the Democrat, and rid themselves of the Tea Bagger clown in the statehouse?

    Posted by: Jim | Apr 27, 2014 4:39:03 PM


  6. Gerry Studds (D-MA) was the first openly gay congressman. Though he was forced out of the closet by the 1983 congressional page scandal, he was reelected and served until 1997.

    Posted by: Glyndon in VA | Apr 27, 2014 4:46:10 PM


  7. What Jim said.

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 27, 2014 5:18:08 PM


  8. @MERV I think the reason for the omission is that most people would not consider Portland to be a "major" city.

    A matter of subjective definition, nothing more. Both Houston and Seattle are much bigger than Portland.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 28, 2014 11:35:48 AM


  9. Does anyone have a problem with the fact that Michaud is pro-life/anti-choice??

    Posted by: MadProfessah | Apr 28, 2014 10:14:57 PM


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