Independent Sen. Angus King on  May 16, 2014, at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Wednesday was a good day for Mike Michaud, the Democratic nominee for governor of Maine.

First, independent opponent Eliot Cutler freed his supporters to "vote their conscience" — a hint that he is probably going to lose and that if they want to back a winner in Michaud, they should feel free to do so. Then, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) switched his endorsement from Cutler to Michaud.

In a statement, King called Cutler a "fine man." But, he added, "like Eliot, I too am a realist. After many months considering the issues and getting to know the candidates, it is clear that the voters of Maine are not prepared to elect Eliot in 2014. 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. And today, I'd like to offer him my support."

Polls shows Michaud in close competition against Gov. Paul LePage (R). Cutler lags well behind.

Democrats fear that Cutler is pulling valuable support away from Michaud, since the two are closer on most policies than they are to LePage. Republicans have sought to exploit the dynamic by boosting Cutler in a television ad designed to steal away Michaud supporters.