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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Identity politics

Gabriel Gomez is gambling he can win the war, but there are questions whether he can survive the initial battle.

The Cohasset businessman took the bold step of using the "M Word" in asking Deval Patrick to appoint a moderate Republican to fill the temporary vacancy left by the resignation of John Kerry.
“I fully understand that naming a moderate Republican like me would be completely unconventional,” Gomez says in the two-page letter dated January 17. “However, given the partisan and acrimonious atmosphere in the US Senate today, this is even more of a reason to consider appointing a moderate Republican with my background. I supported President Obama in 2008. I strongly believe that this appointment would be good for the Democrats as well since it is in everyone’s interest to have the two parties at the negotiating table.”
And when Patrick never responded, Gomez opted to seek the permanent job -- as a more conservative Republican seemingly at odds with the position on gun control he staked out in the letter:
“I support the positions President Obama has taken on these issues and you can be assured I will keep my word and work on these issues as I have promised.”
But that word seems a bit tarnished by his new stance opposed to a federal assault weapons ban. The flip, more the sign of a novice politician than a Romney pretzel twist, complicates his quest.

Democrats and independents could be more inclined to cast their support for the fresh-faced former Navy Seal, over more established GOP candidates like one-time US Attorney Michael Sullivan or Rep. Dan Winslow.

That may well have been the motive of Democratic Party Chief John Walsh in trying to set Sullivan up as the front-runner. The last thing Democrats want is another candidate who might possess the same spark as Scott Brown.

But Gomez's support for Obama and Patrick -- who he praised for "bold and thoughtful leadership" -- may not go over too well with the party faithful, who barely installed Brown's more, ahem, moderate, favorite in the state party chair.

It certainly did not go down smoothly for his rivals:
“How can voters ever trust Gomez again when he tells Gov. Patrick one thing in a private letter, that he never thought would see the light of day, and then tells Republican primary voters something completely different on very important issues?” said state Rep. Dan Winslow’s spokesman, Charlie Pearce.
By releasing the letter now, Gomez is betting he can light a spark and capture the nomination. But given that the party faithful are the ones more likely to show up on primary day, he may have made a serious misstep on timing.

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