Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL and principal investor at Boston’s Advent International, has joined the special election to fill John Kerry's Massachusetts Senate seat. He joins two other Republican candidates, U.S. representatives Stephen Lynch (D) and Ed Markey (D), and Libertarian Dan Fishman.
Gomez, a newcomer to politics, calls himself an "independent thinker" and a new kind of Republican. He holds conservative views on federal spending and reducing the debt. He also opposes abortion, but openly supports gay marriage rights. Share the news: Tweet
On immigration reform, Gomez, a first generation American, wants a path to citizenship for illegal workers and tighter border security. His positions fit in with the loose "Massachusetts moderate” image associated with the state’s Republicans: socially moderate, fiscally conservative, and pro-strong national defense.
Though former Governor Mitt Romney dodged the label in the Republican presidential primaries, former Senator Scott Brown won his 2010 election by proclaiming himself to be an independent thinker. He was known for his relatively moderate voting record.
Gomez’s Republican opponents are Dan Winslow, currently a State Representative, and former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan. The Boston Globe reports Gomez spent $100,000 to get into the primary, but Winslow won the state GOP’s straw poll last weekend and has significant name recognition around the state.
Winslow’s popularity may make it hard for Gomez and Sullivan to build up support before the April 30 primary.
Meanwhile, Rep. Markey appears to be the frontrunner, according to Wednesday’s poll from UMass Lowell. Markey, who was first elected in 1976, should have no trouble mobilizing Massachusetts’ progressive voters, among whom he enjoys immense popularity. Tweet it: Tweet
Rep. Lynch was the state’s only Democrat to vote against Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which no doubt puts him at a disadvantage among Democrats.
Despite Gomez’s ambition, Republicans might opt for Winslow due to his name recognition, especially if they face Markey in the primary. Several conservatives, like Michael Graham, have already criticized his “new Republican” image and they don’t want to lose another Senate seat to a progressive after Elizabeth Warren’s victory last fall.
However, if Gomez can pick up enough support to win the primary next month, his sudden success may draw enough independents to back him in the election in June.