First Lady Michelle Obama has backed Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud, who if elected would become the nation's first openly gay governor.

In a speech delivered Friday, Obama told a University of Maine audience that Michaud was the best candidate for the job.

“So whether it's strengthening the economy, or expanding access to health care, or ensuring that women get equal pay for equal work, Mike will wake up, and as he said, every day ready to fight for hard-working families,” Obama told a crowd estimated at 1,500.

Michaud leads incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage by just two points, according to a Portland Press Herald poll published last month. Independent candidate Eliot Cutler is trailing a distant third.

Michaud, who served six terms in Congress, came out gay last year.