Maine Rep. Mike Michaud on Monday came out gay.

In an editorial running in newspapers throughout Maine, Michaud, a Democrat, responded to rumors about his sexual orientation.

“They want people to question whether I am gay.”

“Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: 'Yes I am. But why should it matter?'”

Michaud, 58, is hoping to unseat Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, next year. A recent poll found Michaud about even with LePage, and independent Eliot Cutler coming in third.

“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 mill worker 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.”

“Most of all, I was brought up believing you should judge a person based on the content of his or her character, not by their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. That's a value I know most Mainers share,” he added.

When asked by the AP, a spokesman refused to say whether Michaud is in a relationship.

If elected next year, Michaud would become the nation's first openly gay elected governor. In 2004, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey announced that he's a “gay American” and that he was resigning from his office. Heather Mizeur, a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates, is openly gay and a candidate in Maryland's 2014 gubernatorial election.