U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud

WASHINGTON — A Maine gubernatorial candidate maneuvered around his opponents Monday by announcing he’s gay, road blocking what he calls their “whisper campaigns.”

Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, came out in op-ed columns in the Portland Press and Bangor Daily News, USA Today reported. He said he was doing it to silence his opponents who were trying to turn his personal life into an issue.

“Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: Yes, I am. But why should it matter,” Michaud wrote. “That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation millworker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.

Michaud is 58 and single, and he becomes the seventh openly gay or bisexual member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is the only out senator.

Michaud is considered the Democrats’ best hope for winning the governor’s race in 2014. He was first elected to the House in 2012.