U.S. Sen. Angus King announced Wednesday that he is supporting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor of Maine.
On Aug. 18, King endorsed independent candidate Eliot Cutler — who said Wednesday his victory was a “long shot.”
“The good news is that we still have a chance to elect a governor who will represent the majority of Maine people: my friend and colleague, Mike Michaud,” King said in a prepared statement. “And today, I’d like to offer him my support.”
Cutler, who spoke to a group of Bates College students late Wednesday afternoon, said he spoke with King earlier in the day and knew King would be endorsing Michaud.
Cutler said he told King the same thing he had been telling everyone else all day Wednesday.
“If you are compelled by your conscience or your fears to vote for someone else, even if you think I’m the best candidate for governor, then go ahead and do so,” Cutler said. “If you are worried, as I am, about the state of Maine under either LePage or Michaud, then continue to stand with me.”
Cutler told the students that four to eight years of Michaud in the Blaine House “will be at least as destructive to the state of Maine as four more years of Paul LePage, and that’s where I am. I think four to eight years of Mike Michaud will be extremely destructive.”
King praised Cutler in his statement. King had endorsed Cutler’s 2010 run for the Blaine House, but King called himself a realist — a term Cutler used earlier in the day — in explaining why he switched endorsements.
“I have worked with Mike Michaud for 20 years and know that he has what it takes to be Maine’s next governor,” King wrote in his statement. “Mike believes in protecting our environment and finding new ways to grow Maine’s economy and, as I have seen firsthand, is absolutely tenacious in defending Maine’s interests.”
Michaud issued a statement Wednesday saying he was “grateful and humbled” by King’s new endorsement.
“Sen. King and I have worked together for many years, and we’ve always tried to put the best interests of our state first,” Michaud said in a statement issued by his campaign. “With only six days left before Election Day, momentum is building and, if we all stand together, I believe that we can bring the change we need to Augusta. This is a close race, and we need every voter to show up on Tuesday.”
State Politics Editor Scott Thistle contributed to this report.
EARLIER WEDNESDAY: Cutler urges supporters to vote their conscience but he won’t drop out