Welfare comments, marriage equality influencing Nov. races

(NEWS CENTER) -- Governor LePage called social security welfare Wednesday, but then said it is not welfare Thursday. Over his term, he has made it is clear he is not in favor of federal programs, like food stamps and Medicaid. Both Phil Harriman and Ethan Strimling said the statement could cause issues with his race for re-election.

"When you talk about social security, these are wages people have paid taxes into to receive a post retirement pension plan and health insurance. When you give people the impression that it's welfare, I think you are creating a backfire you may regret," said Harriman.

"He's got to be careful. He's about splitting it with Mike Michaud among seniors. If that starts to move at all, Mike's lead will widen," said Strimling.

Senator Susan Collins recently announced her support for same-sex marriage. Strimling said that the timing is because her competitor, Shenna Bellows, has been a big supporter of LGBTQ rights.

"It's really been the one missing piece...and think she needed to make sure she checked it off the list," said Strimling.

Harriman agreed, saying that Collins has been quietly supporting these issues and it was time to declare her support publicly.

Bellows' record with same sex marriage and LGBTQ rights is nearly perfect, but a large LGBTQ advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, has publicly endorsed Collins over Bellows.

"Collins has had a decent record on this...She is only the fourth Republican in the U.S. Congress to take this position," said Strimling.

"Organizations want to back someone who will remember them when issues come up in Congress. I believe that's why they are backing Susan Collins," said Harriman.


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