(NEWS CENTER) -- Mike Michaud's opponents in the race for governor aren't interested in making his sexual orientation an issue, and some political observers say they doubt it will be one.
Governor LePage's senior political adviser Brent Littlefield had no comment. Jason Savage, the Executive director of the Maine Republican Party said, "This election is going to be about issues such as jobs, the economy, protecting our children and grand children's future and protecting the family budgets of hard working Maine people."
Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Eliot Cutler said he had heard rumors about Michaud's sexual orientation, and told his staff never to discuss it. He said, "This is entirely a matter of personal preference and has no bearing whatsoever -- should have no bearing whatsoever -- on anyone's qualifications to be governor."
Dan Shea, Director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College, said he didn't think this announcement would have a big impact on the race. "He'll win or lose on other issues," Shea said. "His positions, his character. I think this issue will be yesterday's news rather quickly."
If elected, Michaud would be the first openly gay governor in the country. NEWS CENTER's Democratic political analyst, Ethan Strimling, said that could bring him money from gay rights organizations. "I think the opportunity for donors across the country to give to a candidate who could be the first out gay governor would generate a lot of support."
Shea disagrees, saying those groups likely will put more money towards gay marriage initiatives. "I also think folks in Maine don't warm up to outside money as much as might be OK in other states. So just because the money could come flooding in from across the country doesn't mean it would help. I'm not sure it would happen, though."
Maine's gay rights organization, EqualityMaine, has not yet endorsed a candidate in the governor's race. Communications Director Ian Grady said Michaud's sexual orientation is just one factor. "We're looking at everyone's record in terms of their statements in support of issues of LGBT equality, and really just be trying to take full stock of the races."
Cutler was a big supporter of same sex marriage during the campaign in Maine. Governor LePage has not weighed in on the issue.