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social sciences

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Michaud, Michael H. ("Mike") (b. 1955)  
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Michaud prevailed by extremely wide margins in his next two bids for re-election, but after he won with a lesser--albeit solid--advantage of approximately ten percent in 2010, the Republicans again considered his seat one that they might be able to pick up in the next election cycle.

Some in Maine were anticipating a tight race in the 2012 rematch of Michaud and Raye, but Michaud ran a strong campaign. He touted his support for veterans, including his work to make healthcare more easily accessible and more affordable for them. He also pointed to his efforts to provide loans to small businesses in the state, to support American employers such as the New Balance factories (producers of athletic shoes) in Maine, and to oppose trade policies of other countries--particularly China--that enticed companies to move their production operations overseas.

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Michaud also made clear his support for marriage equality. In response to the Portland Press Herald's question about whether he favored same-sex marriage, he said, "Yes. I believe it is up to the states to determine whether or not to recognize same-sex marriage, which is why I voted against a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage during my first term in Congress. Discrimination should not be written into the Constitution."

Michaud's forthright response was courageous. His sprawling Congressional district is Maine's most rural and it voted against the marriage referendum that ultimately brought marriage equality to the state in the November 2012 election.

When the votes were counted, Michaud had an advantage of some sixteen percent over Raye.

During his service in Congress, Michaud was frequently described as a conservative or "blue-dog" Democrat. Yet he has a life-time rating from the American Conservative Union of only 4, while his rating from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action is 95. His ratings from the Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU have also consistently been high.

When Michaud was elected in 2003 as a pro-life Democrat, he received only a 10% rating from NARAL Pro Choice America, which supports the right of women to make their own reproductive choices. However, in 2010, the same organization gave Michaud a 100% rating, in response to Michaud's support of stem cell research and his vote against baning abortion from federal health care coverage.

In March 2013, Michaud was among three other members of Maine's federal delegation to sign a letter urging the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

In a statement, he said, "I don't believe people should be denied the right to marry. However, I've been particularly sensitive to how same-sex marriage initiatives like the one recently passed in Maine would impact religious institutions."

In August 2013 Michaud announced his intention to run for the governorship of Maine the following year. The Republican incumbent, Paul LePage, had won election in 2010 with a plurality of the vote--37.6 percent--over a strong independent candidate, Eliot Cutler, who received 35.9 percent, and a Democrat, Libby Mitchell, who garnered only 18.8 percent.

LePage has not enjoyed widespread popularity with the public but has stated that he plans to run again, as has Cutler.

Political science professor Mark Brewer of the University of Maine told Mario Moretto of the Bangor Daily News that he expects the conservative LePage to receive approximately the same percentage of the vote that he did before, leaving Michaud and Cutler to battle for the votes of more moderate Mainers.

Dan Demeritt, a political consultant who served on the staff of LePage, opined that Michaud would be stronger than Mitchell, noting, "He'll do well with veterans, with core Democratic constituencies, but progressives don't flock to him. His position on social issues is ambiguous."

His stance on abortion has, Michaud declared in 2013, "evolved" after "as a Franco-American Catholic, [he] personally [had] struggled . . . with this issue." He also stated, "In the past, I have taken votes that I would not take today," and added that his more recent voting record had earned him "a 92 percent rating with Planned Parenthood."

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