Rep. Mike MichaudMichael (Mike) Herman MichaudRecord number of LGBT candidates running for governor What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections Democrats need an experienced leader on House VA committee MORE (D-Maine) came out as gay Monday in a column he released to three of his state’s major news outlets.

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Michaud is running for governor for 2014, and would become the first openly gay governor. His opponents’ personal attacks against Michaud, the congressman says, influenced him to come out.

“So I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay,” he wrote.

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

He becomes the seventh member in the House who is openly gay. Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisProtesters at Colorado State Capitol call for Columbus Day to be abolished Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado Democrats grill BLM chief over plans to move officials out of DC MORE (D-Colo.), who is also gay, congratulated Michaud on Twitter Monday morning.

"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,” Michaud wrote.

He is serving his sixth term in Congress, after first winning election in 2002. He currently serves as ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Michaud is running against incumbent Gov. Paul LePage (R) next year.