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Mike Michaud Loses Bid to Become Maine Governor

MichaudRep. Mike Michaud, who would have become the country's first openly gay person elected governor, was defeated by Republican Paul LePage and conceded late last night, the Press Herald reports:

Michaud conceded defeat at 12:30 a.m. in a speech at the Port City Music Hall. LePage triumphantly took the stage at the Franco American Heritage Center in Lewiston before Michaud finished his speech. Written off by some pundits when the campaign began over a year ago, the governor weathered a full-throated challenged by the Maine Democratic Party, which cleared the field of primary challengers for Michaud while aligned interest groups spent millions boosting his candidacy in the most expensive gubernatorial race in state history.

With 66.6% reporting, LePage had 47.7%, Michaud 43.8%, and Cutler 8.4%.


Election Preview: 10 Races with LGBT Candidates to Watch on November 4

BY LISA KEEN

MapThis year’s election night is likely to be an important one for the LGBT history books: Voters in Massachusetts are expected to elect the nation’s first-ever openly gay state attorney general, and voters in Maine could very well elect the nation’s first-ever openly gay governor. Two candidates for Congress could well become the first openly gay Republican elected to the U.S. House and, if they both succeed, they will join what will number as the largest ever contingent of openly LGBT members of Congress—up from seven to as many as 12, if all newcomers are successful.

Add to this mix a large number of openly LGBT candidates around the country for various state and local offices.

These are the top 10 races to keep an eye on November 4:

Michaud1. Maine: U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (pictured) is holding onto a narrow lead over incumbent Republican Paul LePage and progressive independent Eliot Cutler in a race for the governorship. If he’s successful, Michaud will become the first ever openly gay person elected governor. Collectively, the latest polls (see RealClearPolitics) show a virtual tie between Michaud and LePage, with Cutler siphoning off 16 points. But interestingly, the latest poll, from Bangor Daily News, showed Michaud up by six points over LePage. (Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey came out as gay in 2004 while governor, then promptly resigned.) Michaud came out as gay one year ago in an op-ed, saying he didn’t want his campaign for governor to be undermined by “whisper campaigns.”

Healey2. Massachusetts: Attorney Maura Healey (pictured), a first-time candidate, won a stunning victory in the September primary against a well-entrenched incumbent Democrat –even pro-LGBT Governor Deval Patrick endorsed the incumbent. But Healey trounced former state Senator Warren Tolman by more than 24 points. She is largely expected to do the same with the Republican Party’s nominee John Miller. And, if successful, Healey will become the nation’s first openly gay person elected as a state attorney general. She is best known in the LGBT community for her work as assistant attorney general on the Massachusetts challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a lawsuit complementary to one led by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Moulton3. Massachusetts: Former state Senator Richard Tisei almost made history two years ago when he narrowly missed becoming the first openly gay Republican to be elected to Congress. He’s back this year, seeking the same seat, and he’s holding onto a slight lead in some polls. The Democratic incumbent was the surprising loser in the September primary, so Tisei’s competition is Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton (pictured), the Democrat. LGBT newspaper publisher Sue O’Connell is backing Tisei; former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is backing Moulton. Congress has had gay Republicans before –Steve Gunderson and Jim Kolbe. If elected, Tisei would become the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

Demaio4. California: Carl DeMaio (pictured) is the second person vying to become the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress, but his effort has been lost traction –first, by failing to win the support of the LGBT community, and, second, by being waylaid by a former campaign aide’s claim that DeMaio sexually harassed him. (San Diego County prosecutors announced just this week that they would not be pressing charges.) DeMaio, a former member of the San Diego City Council, is up against incumbent Democrat Scott Peters who has won endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign. Congressional District 52 is said to be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The latest poll, in early October, showed DeMaio with a three-point lead.

Maloney5. New York: First-term U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY18, pictured) is in a tough fight for re-election against a Republican opponent he beat two years ago. Maloney won his first-term by defeating incumbent Republican Nan Hayworth, who’s back for another round. Hayworth earned only a 71 rating from HRC in her one Congressional term.

C_aiken6. North Carolina: American Idol star Clay Aiken (pictured), a Democrat, is struggling to replace incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, who represents the 2nd Congressional District in North Carolina, and earned a zero rating from HRC for two terms. Aiken has done well in fundraising from individuals, while Ellmers has relied on party funding, but polls still show Ellmers with a sizeable lead.

Eldridge7. New York: Sean Eldridge (pictured) is making an uphill climb to become a member of the LGBT Congressional Caucus representing New York’s Hudson Valley district (No. 19). His opponent is two-term Republican Chris Gibson. Eldridge, the spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, has been criticized repeatedly for using the couple’s personal wealth to fund his campaign, while little mention is made that Gibson’s campaign depends primarily on finance, insurance, and investment entities. Eldridge is, of course, pro-gay marriage; Gibson supports only civil unions, claiming that marriage is a religious institution. He earned a 76 rating from HRC in the last Congressional session and a zero in his first term. The Eldridge camp released a poll Tuesday showing that he had closed a 28-point lead by Gibson in September to 10 points as of October 19.

Kuehl8. California: Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl (pictured) is in a tight race against Bobby Shriver, a nephew of the late President Kennedy, for the District 3 seat on the powerful Los Angeles County Board. Despite her long history with the LGBT community, Kuehl is struggling to keep up with Shriver, who has raised twice the cash she has and won the backing of gay media mogul David Geffen. But she did win the most votes in the June primary. And if elected to the seat, she would become the first openly gay person to serve on the Board.

Pankey9. Idaho: In a little publicized effort, third party openly gay candidate Steve Pankey is running for governor in Idaho. His chances are slim to none: He won only 13 percent of the vote in his 2010 race for lieutenant governor. The Idaho Statesman reported recently that he and two other candidates were splitting 12 percent in the polls. But Pankey was rejected by his own party –the Constitution Party—after he came out in support of marriage equality. Idaho is currently still fighting to defend its state marriage ban in federal court.

Catania10. Washington, D.C.: Popular D.C. Councilman David Catania is mounting a strong campaign to become the capitol city’s first openly gay mayor. Catania has been haunted somewhat by the fact that he was a Republican in the heavily Democratic city. But he switched to independent 10 years ago after a long-standing dispute with the Republicans over their anti-gay policies. Catania has earned a good reputation in his 17 years on the Council, but his effort may be hurt by the independent campaign of another former Republican Councilmember Carol Schwartz. And both Catania and Schwartz are up against the African American Democrat Muriel Bowser, who won the endorsement of the local gay Democratic club.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Mike Michaud Could Become Nation's Only Out Gay Governor Despite Lack of Support From Top LGBT Donors: VIDEO

Mike

According to recent polling, openly gay Democratic congressman Michael Michaud leads the pack in the race for the governor's mansion in Maine. Michaud came out last November. At the time, Michaud commented that he wanted to avoid a "whisper campaign" that he claimed was being waged against him. With Michaud now so close to victory, perhaps the most surprising fact of Michaud's campaign has been, as Politico reports, that his success has come without the help of the nation's most prominent, powerful and moneyed LGBT donors:

For all the formal endorsements he has collected in his quest for the governorship, Michaud has been conspicuously shortchanged by many of the wealthiest and most influential gay donors in Democratic politics. Far from becoming a pathbreaking cause célèbre, he has plainly not enjoyed the overpowering financial support of the community that helped fuel President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 and made Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin the first openly gay senator in history.

Dozens of prominent gay bundlers for Obama’s campaign, including Evercore Partners’ Charles Myers and Newsweb’s Fred Eychaner, have given nothing to the Maine lawmaker, according to the most recent state finance records. Gay and straight Hollywood kingpins who have bankrolled marriage equality lawsuits, including producers Bruce Cohen and Rob Reiner, have kept their checkbooks closed.

Of the 32 activists and donors who sit on the board of the Human Rights Campaign, only one has donated to the man currently positioned to become America’s only gay governor. Wealthy Colorado gay rights activist Tim Gill has maxed out to Michaud, but he is an exception that helps prove the rule.

Watch an interview Michaud gave to Rachel Maddow after coming out last year, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Mike Michaud Could Become Nation's Only Out Gay Governor Despite Lack of Support From Top LGBT Donors: VIDEO" »


Tuesday Speed Read: Primary Day, White House Forum on LGBT Rights, Mike Michaud

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

MizeurBIG PRIMARY DAY FOR LGBT CANDIDATES:

Ten openly LGBT candidates are running in primary races today, including lesbian State Delegate Heather Mizeur in her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland and Sean Eldridge, the spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, running for the Democratic nomination to a U.S. House seat. Eldridge is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, but Mizeur is running third against two much better known and well funded state elected officials. Another important primary is that of openly gay U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney. He’s unopposed for the Democratic nomination, but both he and the Republican candidate are also on the Independent Party ballot.

OTHER RACES TO WATCH: Madaleno

Maryland’s Democratic primary offers another interesting match up today: openly gay incumbent State Senator Richard Madaleno against LGBT activist Dana Beyer. The winner of the primary takes the seat because there is no Republican running. First-term incumbent Democratic Delegate Luke Clippinger has four opponents for his Maryland legislative district. And first-term incumbent Democrat Bonnie Cullison has five for her Maryland district. Incumbent Democratic Delegate Maggie McIntosh also has a challenger for her seat in Maryland. Evan Glass is running for re-election as a member of the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, and Byron Macfarlane is running for re-election as register of wills for Howard County, Maryland.

WHITE HOUSE LGBT FORUM: Rice

The White House sent out a press notice after 6 p.m. Monday alerting reporters about a “White House Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights” today. Those wishing to cover the event had until 10:30 this morning to RSVP. The notice says activists from around the world would be meeting with “the broader human rights community to discuss how to partner with the U.S. government….” National Security Advisor Susan Rice will deliver a keynote which will be webcast live at 2:15 p.m. EDT.

BALDWIN TO TESTIFY:

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is among the eight female senators who will testify before a Congressional hearing this morning on “combating violence and discrimination against women around the world. The hearing will be webcast live beginning at 9:45 a.m. EDT.

MICHAUD HOLDS SHAKY LEAD: Michaud

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, has a four-point lead in his effort to unseat Maine’s Republican incumbent Governor Paul LePage, but the Portland-Press Herald said its latest poll suggests voters might swing their support to an independent candidate. A victory by Michaud in November would be historic, making him the first openly gay person to be elected governor. The poll conducted June 12-18 shows Michaud with 40 percent, LePage with 36, and independent Eliot Cutler with a mere 15. But the margin of error is 4.3 points and seven percent of those surveyed were undecided. In one-on-one match ups, Cutler leads LePage by 12 points, while Michaud leads by seven. “Poll results suggest that many Mainers will watch to see whether independent Eliot Cutler or Democrat Mike Michaud has the better chance this fall of unseating the governor, then vote strategically,” said the paper.

A NEWS LOW:

The only institutions that the public holds in worse esteem than Congress and “big business” are television news and internet news. A Gallup poll asking 1,027 adults nationally to identify “how much confidence” they have in 17 institutions (“great,” “quite a lot,” “some,” or “very little”) found the greatest confidence for the military (74 percent), “small business” (62 percent), the police (53 percent), and “the church or organized religion” (45 percent). At rock bottom was Congress (7 percent), followed by “television news” (18 percent), “news on the Internet” (19 percent), and “big business” (21 percent).

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Monday Speed Read: Family Leave, Social Security, VA Benefits, Mike Michaud, Trans Connections

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LaborOPM PROPOSES RULE CHANGE:

In conjunction with a proposed rule change regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act announced by the U.S. Department of Labor last week, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is publishing a proposed regulation change in today’s Federal Register to ensure that federal employees with same-sex spouses can take leave to care for that spouse. The proposal calls for changing the definition of “spouse” to include a husband or wife in a same-sex marriage that was licensed by at a state or, if licensed outside the country, “was valid in the place where entered into and could have been entered into in at least one State.”

SOCIAL SECURITY SNAG: Holder

In its memorandum to the president June 20, the Department of Justice indicated that the Social Security Administration would treat same-sex spouse applicants for Social Security Income as married “if they live in states that recognize same-sex marriages.” The National Center for Lesbian Rights said that, while the overall DOJ memo shows that DOJ and the Obama administration have moved “aggressively and diligently” to provide equal treatment to same-sex married couples in the past year, the Social Security restriction “underscores how far we have yet to go to achieve true equality.”

VETS ADMINISTRATION, TOO:

The U.S. Veterans Administration announced its post-Windsor guidelines Friday, too, noting that the “Special provisions relating to marriage” under the U.S. Code governing Veterans’ Benefits “requires the Department to look to the place of residency rather than the place of celebration to determine whether a Veteran's marriage is recognized for the purposes of VA benefits.” The VA press release added, “VA is committed to treating all Veterans and their spouses as equally as possible under the law.”

MICHAUD GRAND MARSHALL IN PORTLAND: Michaud

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) served as one of the grand marshals for Portland’s largest ever Pride parade Saturday. According to the Portland-Press Herald, Michaud walked the parade route shaking hands, while independent Eliot Cutler, his chief rival to unseat incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage, walked the route carrying a rainbow flag. The Press Herald said Governor LePage, a Tea Party conservative, was invited to participate but a spokesperson said he was unable to fit the event into his schedule.

DIDN’T KNOW HE HAD A NANNY:

When he lived in Indonesia with his mother and her second husband, President Obama had a nanny who was transgender, according to Associated Press, though “she did not dress as a woman around her young charge.” Obama was between the ages of six and ten at the time. And President George W. Bush, says AP, had a transgender classmate to the White House for a Yale reunion.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Friday Speed Read: Darrin Gayles, Indiana Marriage, Mike Michaud, Clay Aiken

GaylesNOMINEE ADVANCES OUT OF COMMITTEE:

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, by voice vote, recommended the confirmation of openly gay federal district court nominee Darrin Gayles. A vote on the nomination had been scheduled for last week, but Republicans on the committee held over the vote on Gayles’ nomination and that of three others to the district court in southern Florida. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) noted Thursday that both senators from Florida have given their consent to advancing all four nominees. The nomination of a previous openly gay African American man to the federal bench in Miami was killed when Senator Marco Rubio raised objections. If cleared by the full Senate, Gayles will be the first openly gay African American male to be confirmed to a federal bench seat.

INDIANA PRELIMINARY VICTORY: Sandler

A federal district court judge ruled Thursday that Indiana’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages harms a same-sex couple “in numerous tangible and intangible ways.” In doing so, Judge Richard Young ordered the state to recognize the marriage license obtained out of state by Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to protect Sandler’s rights to care Quasney, who is near death from ovarian cancer. The order also requires Indiana, upon Quasney’s death, to list Sandler as her spouse on the death certificate. Young ruled that he doubts Indiana’s ban “will suffer a different fate than those around the country,” where other federal district courts have consistently found them unconstitutional. Last month, Judge Young granted a temporary restraining order requiring Indiana to recognize the Quasney-Sandler marriage license obtained in Massachusetts. Lambda Legal brought the case, Baskin v. Bogan, on behalf of several couples and the court must still consider the merits of the overall challenge to the state’s ban. Lambda staff attorney Paul Castillo, said that, “while this family is experiencing urgent, life-threatening medical circumstances, they’re just one of the thousands of same-sex couples in Indiana enduring real financial and dignitary harm due to the State’s discriminatory marriage ban. Our work in Indiana is not done.  All same-sex couples in Indiana need the security only marriage provides.”

DEM POLL SHOWS MICHAUD BACK IN LEAD: Michaud

Democracy for America, a group founded by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, announced Thursday that its poll of 754 Maine voters finds openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud four points ahead of incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage. Asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 43 percent said Michaud, 39 percent said LePage, 15 percent said independent candidate Eliot Cutler, and three percent were undecided. Michaud and LePage have been running very close in polls in the past month. A Republican-leaning polling firm, Rasmussen Reports, called the race a tie based on data it gathered between April 23 and 25 from 830 “likely voters.” A Huffington Post analysis of 10 polls (but not the Democracy for America data) estimated Michaud at 40.6 percent, LePage at 37.9 percent, Cutler at 15.9 percent.

C_aikenAIKEN MAY FACE RUN-OFF:

There are 276 uncounted ballots in openly gay U.S. House candidate Clay Aiken’s Democratic primary race against two competitors in North Carolina’s Congressional District 2. That doesn’t give second-place candidate Keith Crisco a chance to catch up to Aiken, who has a 369-vote lead. But it could give him enough to drop Aiken’s vote tally below the 40 percent margin needed to avoid a run-off. And the Raleigh News-Observer reported Thursday that business Keith Crisco has not conceded the race and that, if a run-off is necessary, it will take place in July.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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