In his first nationally televised interview since coming out of the closet, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud said he didn’t want his personal life to become a talking point in the upcoming 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
“I do not intend to make the governor’s personal life, or the independent’s personal life a part of the campaign, and hopefully they’ll respect my privacy as well,” Michaud said.
Though that campaign seems to have been going on for months, the race is officially on after Republican Gov. Paul LePage formally announced his reelection bid last night in Augusta. Independent businessman and lawyer Eliot Cutler is also running, making 2014 his second consecutive attempt at the Blaine House.
Michaud appeared late last night on the midnight edition of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” You can see the clip at the end of this post. There wasn’t much new ground covered in the interview, but it’s always worth checking out when a prominent Maine politician is on national TV.
In case you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past 48 hours, Michaud revealed he is gay Monday in an OpEd penned for the Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald and Associated Press. Historically, it was a big deal. Politically … we’ll have to wait and see.
With Michaud’s big announcement less than two days behind him, it was pretty obvious from the get-go what he and Maddow, who is also gay, would talk about.
The host questioned Michaud about the timing of his coming out. Why did he wait so long, after more than 30 years of public service? Some in Maine politics have speculated that the timing was a calculated move, scheduled to bury LePage’s campaign announcement, which was already set to conflict with Election Day coverage.
Michaud said his hand was forced when he started hearing that others were poking around his personal life.
“It never was an issue before. I’ve always ran for office talking about the issues. This was actually the first campaign that it had become an issue. I started hearing a little bit about it, you know, questioning my sexuality, and I thought I’d come out, put it out to the voters in the state of Maine, yes I’m gay, but what’s wrong with that?”
Watch the whole interview below. The interview starts about halfway through the clip, after the liberal Maddow spends a bunch of time blasting LePage.