Defying all expectations, Republican Gabriel Gomez, a former navy seal and businessman, surged in recent days to overcome an early deficit in the polls to win his party’s nominate for U.S. Senate Tuesday night.
A month ago, at the GOP debate at Stonehill College, former U.S. Attorney Mike Sullivan seemed to have the wind at his back. But on Tuesday night, shortly after 9:00 p.m., Sullivan conceded.
Gabriel Gomez won his party’s primary by campaigning hard, no doubt about it 58 stops in four days as his brief campaign wound down over the last week. But with most voters paying neither attention to the race nor the issues, Gomez appealed to a broad segment of Republicans and independents with a made-for-television biography.
"For a kid who didn't know English until he went to school, I earned my pilot wings, I earned my Navy SEAL trident, I earned my way into Harvard Business School, and I earned my way to a successful career in the private sector," he said. "Now this election's about the future. It's not about the past. But the simple truth is, the reason I'm running, and I've said this from day one: My parents came here for a chance at the American dream, not just for themselves, but for their kids. And what I'm concerned about, is that if we stay on the same path we're on right now, my kids, your kids, all those kids who came through up here on the way in, and everybody's kids who are watching right now, may not have the same chance that I had. And I think that every generation should pass off a better country than when they started."
Gomez will now take on Ed Markey in the special Senate general election on June 25th and minutes into his victory speech he hit hard at the veteran Congressman.
"The year was 1976, 37 years ago," he said. "Gerald Ford was president. Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet. Eight-track players were big. Boston's first album had just come out. The first Rocky movie had just debuted. The average price of a new home was $44,000. The national debt, which today is almost $17 trillion, was not even a trillion dollars. Now that was a lifetime ago. Me? I was just playing Little League baseball. And that was when Ed Markey first got elected to Congress."
This will be a race that will have national significance—closely watched around the country as it will determine if the Democrats can hold on to the Senate or if the Republicans will take it back.
"We've got a good record of winning special elections here in Massachusetts," said Ron Kaufman, of the Republican National Committee. "And more importantly, the voters are really tired of what's going on in Washington right now. You've seen since election day, the president's numbers flip. He's gone from being positive to being very negative again. And I think the voters want someone, like Gabriel said tonight, who's got the discipline of a military officer, the heart of a dad, and the courage of a businessman to do what's right."
Republican researchers will comb through Markey’s three-decade record in the House of Representatives for votes that might hurt him. And Gomez’s biography will be scrutinized for details that Democratic researchers hope will not be so TV friendly.