Betsy Smith, former executive director of the gay advocacy group EqualityMaine, has endorsed unenrolled liberal Eliot Cutler in the governor’s race over U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, who recently announced that he is gay.
The announcement provides further evidence that fierce competition between Cutler and Michaud is causing Maine’s left-of-center voters to splinter along interesting lines.
Smith, who says she’s a Democrat and agrees with the Democrat Party platform, has formed Campaign for Maine, a political action committee comprised of Democrats, Republicans and unenrolled voters working to elect Cutler.
In an opinion editorial for the Bangor Daily News, Smith explained why she is supporting Cutler. Wrote Smith, “Cutler’s leadership skills are exactly what we need to help rebuild Maine — to turn our economy around, put people back to work, create a fair and workable tax system and protect, unequivocally, the freedom of reproductive choice and equality for all.”
Smith does not directly address Michaud’s recent comments regarding his own sexuality, but says, “What I have come to resolve is that supporting Cutler is not about working against Michaud, it’s about working for the best leader for Maine, and that’s Cutler,” she wrote.
In endorsing Cutler, Smith joins Sherry Huber, co-founder of the Family Planning Association of Maine.
Both endorsements seem calibrated to undermine Michaud’s liberal Democrat base, who typically focus on the issues of abortion and gay marriage.
Huber’s approval exploits Michaud’s inconsistent record on legalized abortion and highlights Cutler’s staunch support for it, giving pro-choice liberals an alternative to a sometimes-socially conservative Democrat.
Likewise, Smith’s announcement seems to convey that Maine’s gay community will not automatically vote for Michaud simply because he is gay.
Maine Wire Reporter