The Washington Times - November 4, 2013, 07:41AM

Seeking to confront “whisper campaigns” about his personal life, congressman and Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud announced Monday in a series of op-eds that he is gay.

Mr. Michaud, a Democrat who’s served in the U.S. House since 2003, made the news in a column he sent to his state’s top news outlets, including the Portland Press Herald.

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“They want people to question whether I am gay,” Mr. Michaud wrote. “Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: ‘Yes I am. But why should it matter?’ “

The Press Herald reported that Mr. Michaud “has long sidestepped questions about his sexuality,” but now, “nearly a year away from the 2014 election, Michaud’s sexual orientation moves to the forefront, potentially dominating what was expected to be a highly competitive three-way race.”

While numerous gay lawmakers serve openly in Congress or elsewhere, the Press Herald says Mr. Michaud could become the first openly gay governor in the country if he defeats Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey announced in 2004 he is gay, but it was part of a resignation statement after a nepotism scandal involving his male partner — and a looming sexual harassment lawsuit from the man — became public.