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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 10 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 41
Michelle Obama campaigns for Maine's Gay gubernatorial candidate
Section One
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Michelle Obama campaigns for Maine's Gay gubernatorial candidate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Michelle Obama appeared at the University of Maine October 4 at a campaign rally for openly Gay Mike Michaud, Democratic Party candidate for Governor of Maine.

'This race will be so close,' she said, referring to polls showing Michaud barely ahead of the unpopular Republican incumbent, Paul LePage. First Lady Obama encouraged the audience to volunteer for the campaign to increase voter turnout.

'The stakes could not be higher,' she said. Without naming LePage, she said that if Republicans win, 'we will see more folks interfering in women's private decisions about our health care.'

'Barack won [in 2008 and 2012] because of record numbers of women and minorities and young people who showed up to vote,' she added.

'When the midterms came along, too many of our people just tuned out,' she said. 'That's what folks are counting on, on the other side this year.'

The First Lady got an enthusiastic response from the crowd of 1,500 people. She was preceded by Michaud, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards, whose PAC has endorsed Michaud, and State Senator Emily Cain, a candidate for the congressional seat now held by Michaud.

A poll conducted by the Portland Press Herald between September 18 and 25 showed that Michaud was slightly ahead in a three-way race, with 40% of the vote. LePage had 38% and independent candidate Eliot Cutler had 12%.

While her husband's approval ratings are slipping fast, Michelle Obama remains one of the most popular Democrats. About two-thirds of the public have consistently supported her since Barak Obama took office, according to Pew Research polls.

Michaud, a Congressman since 2003, certainly can use her help.

He has proven to be a flawed candidate, mainly because of his doubts about reproductive choice. While he voted against cutting off federal funds for abortion services in 2013 and 2014, he voted the other way earlier in his career and he has been unable to articulate why he changed his mind.

Michaud has also failed to spark much interest among Gay donors, in spite of being openly Gay.

Nevertheless, his campaign has drawn support from many high-profile Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden appeared with Michaud last month.

LePage has been the beneficiary of two campaign swings by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Elected in the Republican sweep of 2010, LePage has antagonized just about every progressive constituency in his state with off the cuff remarks that have ranged from the bigoted to the obscene.

Last year he was forced to apologize for telling a Republican Party fundraiser that 'President Obama hates white people.' LePage has also reportedly met eight times with representatives of the so-called 'sovereign citizen movement,' a right-wing group that refuses to recognize the authority of the federal government.

LePage opposes same-sex marriage and promised to veto any Transgender rights bill that came to his desk.

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