Here are 5 things you should know about Gomez:Markey will face Republican private equity investor and political newcomer Gabriel Gomez in the June 25 special election. Gomez defeated former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and State Rep. Daniel Winslow in an upset victory to win the Republican nomination.
In his 15-minute speech, Markey called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court case allowing unlimited political spending by corporations and unions. He talked about his record on gun control, national security, protecting entitlement programs and supporting abortion rights. Supporters were clearly familiar with his rhetoric. When Markey said “We need to make the NRA (National Rifle Association) stand for not relevant anymore,” audience members shouted the final words along with him.
While Gomez is a political newcomer and has portrayed himself as a fresh face in politics, rather than a career politician, Markey has a long record of experience in Congress and is running on his record.“We have big issues that divide us,” Markey told reporters. “I am pro-choice and he is not. I favor banning assault weapons and these dangerous magazines that turn them into weapons of war, and he does not. I support protecting Medicare and Social Security, and he’s ready to put it on the operating table…there are big differences between the Republican nominee and myself and I’m ready to have an eight-week debate over these big issues.”
Markey called on Gomez to take a pledge, similar to one signed by Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race, preventing outside organizations from advertising. Gomez has said he will not take any pledges. “He is saying very clearly that he is welcoming in the Koch brothers and Karl Rove into the state of Massachusetts,” Markey said, referring to the Republican activists and strategist. - The Republican, 4/30/13
Markey and Gomez also told us what we should be expecting in terms of attacks:He’s the son of Colombian immigrants.
As the successful son of immigrants from Latin America, Gomez's candidacy comes tailor-made for a Republican Party focused on broadening its appeal and winning support among Hispanics. "I couldn't be more proud of my heritage and the fact that my parents decided to stay here after I was born," Gomez, a first-generation American, said in an interview with the Associated Press. Born in Los Angeles to parents from Colombia, Gomez grew up in Washington state in a middle-class household. His father, who was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and Stanford, eventually went on to become an executive at the world's largest hops dealer, according to a Boston Globe profile. He learned to speak English only in kindergarten and even kicked off his candidacy in an online video in Spanish before switching to English. On immigration reform, though, Gomez has had to backtrack. When John Kerry's departure opened up the Senate seat, Gomez wrote Gov. Deval Patrick seeking the appointment. In the letter, he said he supported Obama's positions on guns and immigration. But since then, he's called for tighter border security, but also backs a pathway to legal status for people who entered the country illegally.
He’s a decorated Navy SEAL.
On the campaign trail, Gomez wears a gold Navy SEAL lapel pin where many candidates and officials wear an American flag. It’s a tangible reminder of his military service, which began in college when Gomez attended the Naval Academy. Before going on to SEAL training, he served as a pilot on board aircraft carriers. During SEAL training he became class leader, according to the Globe, and went on to meet his future wife, Sarah, who was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He left the Navy in 1996 to go to Harvard Business School. His service as a SEAL has not been without political controversy, though. Gomez served as a spokesman for the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, which ran a 22-minute video bashing President Obama for politicizing the killing of Osama bin Laden. Gomez told the Globe he doesn’t have any regrets about speaking for the group. “Like anything else, I can’t control who all those guys are,” he said. “I’m not part of that group. I was just asked to go on a radio and TV show and talk about two points.” Now, the group is sending fundraising letters, seeking donations of up to $5,000 for Gomez’s campaign.
He’s a millionaire who has partially self-funded his campaign.
Gomez built a business career in private equity investments that made him millions over the years and helped fuel his political career, thus far. After graduating with an MBA from Harvard Business School, Gomez took a job at the Charlotte, N.C.-based investment banking firm Bowles Hollowell Conner, an unusual move for a firm that typically hired people with Wall Street experience, a former colleague told the Globe. Gomez, instead, came from the military. He then went to the Boston firm of Summit Partners in 2001. He stayed there for three years before moving onto the Boston-based investment firm Advent International. By any standard, he's had success as a businessman. From January 2012 through March 2013, Gomez reported earning nearly $1 million. He's turned his private-sector success into financial fuel for his Senate campaign, loaning himself $600,000, more than the $582,000 he reported raising, according to the FEC. He reported earning more than $8.5 million from 2007 through 2011 and paying nearly $1.9 million in taxes, according to the AP. Turning his financial advantage to a political one, Gomez was the first Republican to air television ads.
He ran this year’s Boston Marathon.
Gomez ran in the Boston Marathon, finishing a few minutes before the bombs went off, with a time of 4:08:03. He gave a firsthand report of what he saw and had to search for his wife Sarah and his children who were at the finish line. (He and his family were uninjured.) The bombings rocked not only the city, but also the Senate contest, with the Democratic and Republican candidates suspending their campaigns. That, coupled with widespread national and local coverage of the attacks has meant sparse news coverage of the race. That explains, in part, why Massachusetts officials expected voter turnout of only 20% for the off-year contest. "Whatever momentum this primary had and it didn't have a lot was totally exhausted by the bombing," Secretary of State Bill Galvin said. For his part, Gomez pulled TV ads immediately after the attacks and called on the Obama administration to try bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev outside the criminal justice system, arguing he should be treated as an "enemy combatant," the AP reported.
He’s got connections to Team Romney.
Life is not easy for Republicans in deeply-Democratic Massachusetts, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to1. With a shallow bench of Republicans who’ve won statewide office, Gomez has turned to former governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s staff for help, even though Gomez supported Obama in 2008. Gomez hired Bradley Crate, Gail Gitcho and Lenny Alcivar, all veterans of Romney’s failed 2012 presidential campaign. Crate worked for former GOP Sen. Scott Brown as well and serves as Gomez’s treasurer. Gitcho served as Romney’s communications director and Alcivar ran his online rapid response. But that’s not the only help Gomez is getting from Romney-world. Former Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom is helping Gomez, but from the outside. He helped create a radio ad for the Committee for a Better Massachusetts that looks ahead to the general election and attacks Democratic Rep. Ed Markey while asking voters to vote for Gomez. - National Journal, 4/30/13
Liberal organizations have compared Gomez to failed Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R. MA):Democrats wasted no time in revealing how they would go after Mr. Gomez, saying they would cast him as an extremist whose views are antithetical to Massachusetts.
“Republicans were looking for the second coming of Scott Brown,” the Markey campaign said in a statement, referring to the moderate Republican who won the last special Senate election in Massachusetts, in 2010. “Instead, they got Gabriel Gomez, a pro-life Republican who was the spokesman for a ‘super PAC’ that attacked President Obama over the killing of Osama bin Laden.”
Democrats also noted that Mr. Gomez opposes a ban on assault weapons, even after the massacre of children in Newtown, Conn., and supports cutting Social Security.But Mr. Gomez was equally swift in signaling how he intended to beat Mr. Markey: by portraying him as a career politician who is part of the old order.
In his victory speech, Mr. Gomez, noting the year Mr. Markey was first elected to the House, ran through a litany of hallmarks from 1976, including the Gerald Ford presidency and eight-track tapes.
“It was a lifetime ago,” he said. “Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Congress has enough politicians. If we keep sending politicians to Washington, we will keep getting the same results.” - New York Times, 4/30/13
And Gomez's campaign during the primary backs up that claim:Senate Majority PAC, a third-party group seeking to keep the Senate in the hands of Democrats, argued in a statement that Gomez is "Mitt Romney Jr."
"From protecting special tax breaks for billionaires at the expense of seniors and students, to surrounding himself with political insiders from Romney 2012, to talking out of both sides of his mouth, Gabriel Gomez is running a 'Mini Me' retread of Mitt Romney's epic failure of a presidential campaign," the group's statement read. - CNN, 4/30/13
Plus this might be an issue for Gomez in rallying the base:Gomez’s efforts during the primary to appeal to core Republican voters offer Markey a clear opening. In a January letter to Governor Deval Patrick requesting consideration for an interim appointment to Kerry’s seat, Gomez indicated he would support President Obama on gun control. But after that letter became public in March, Gomez said he would have backed a failed Senate bill expanding firearm sale background checks but would not support banning assault weapons.
In the same letter, Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants, said he would back Obama on immigration reform, a stance used against him by his primary opponents but one that could ultimately lend him credibility as a bridge-builder and could prove useful in the general election campaign.
The letter as a whole, which both Sullivan and Winslow used as a cudgel against Gomez, could blunt Democratic efforts to portray him as hard right in the general election.
Along with gun control and immigration, the state’s next US senator will probably face votes on the budget showdown between Obama and Republicans, foreign policy questions like how to respond to strife in Syria, and national security, which surged to the fore in the campaign’s closing weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Markey campaign started in on Gomez Tuesday night, saying that the GOP primary did not sufficiently vet him as a candidate and that his nuanced position on abortion would turn off Bay State independents.
“A vote for Gabriel Gomez is one more Republican vote against sensible gun laws, Social Security, and a woman’s right to choose,” said Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker. - Boston Globe, 4/30/13
Luckily grassroots organizations are wasting no time helping Markey get ready for his run against Gomez:Some Republicans will never forgive Gomez for his gushing letter to Gov. Deval Patrick begging for the interim U.S. Senate appointment, but most Republican voters didn’t seem to be bothered. - Boston Herald, 4/30/13
The election is June 25th. You can click here to donate:Tuesday night in Massachusetts progressives made their voices heard. Liberal icon Ed Markey, the Blue America-endorsed candidate beat ConservaDem Stephen Lynch 58- 42% in the primary for the Democratic nomination to replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate.
Now Ed will face off against Republican Gabriel Gomez, an anti-Choice fanatic and typical lockstep Republican.
It's likely Ed will beat him June 25th. But it's never safe to assume anything. Remember Senator Scott Brown! The good news is that all three Republicans in the primary got fewer votes than Stephen Lynch. But Ed will still need contributions to combat the Big Money Republicans are expected to put into this race. You can donate to Ed's campaign on the special page Blue America has for Senate candidates:
We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John, and the Blue America team