The Fine Print
With barely a week to go before the special election to fill the seat John Kerry vacated in the Senate, The Fine Print caught up with the two candidates at the center of the heated campaign on the trail in Massachusetts.
It's taken a particular sort of Republican to win statewide elections in liberal-leaning Massachusetts, and Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez, a second-generation Latino immigrant and former Navy SEAL with a business degree from Harvard, is making the case that he fits the mold.
“I'm ashamed that only four Republicans voted for the expanded background check,” Gomez told The Fine Print about the gun legislation that failed to pass through the Senate. “I want to go down there and make sure we get more Republicans on board and more conservative Democrats.”
Gomez also touts his support of immigration reform, saying that if he were in the Senate, he’d make the “Gang of Eight” into a “Gang of Nine.”
But the Democratic nominee, 20-term Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass—the longest-serving congressman from New England—says his opponent’s beliefs aren’t as moderate as they might sound.
“Mr. Gomez, he supports the NRA position. He doesn't want to ban assault weapons. He doesn't want to ban high-capacity magazines,” Markey said. “Mr. Gomez, he says he's a new kind of Republican. But he backs the stalest, old Republican ideas.”
In the fiery campaign, Markey has called Gomez a “Tea Party Republican,” but Gomez says that’s wishful thinking on Markey’s part.
“He wishes he was running against a Tea Party Republican,” Gomez says with a smile. “I am independent, and I'm Republican and I'm proud of it. But I'm going to represent all the people in Massachusetts.”
Gomez continues on to cast Markey as a D.C. insider whose strict allegiance to the Democratic Party has led to partisan gridlock: “He's always put the party and the politics before the people and the country.”
A recent Boston Globe poll shows Markey with a significant lead against Gomez, 51 percent to 41 percent. But Gomez said in this interview, recorded before the release of this latest poll, that he’s not paying attention to polls.
“The poll that I'm going to be concerned about is the one on June 25th,” Gomez says, referring to Election Day. “Everywhere we go, whether it's Democrats, Independents, or Republicans, there's so much enthusiasm from our side."
For more of the interviews with Gomez and Markey, and to hear how Gomez thinks the Republican Party will gain voters by offering a pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million people currently living in the country illegally, check out this episode of The Fine Print.
ABC's John Parkinson, Eric Wray, Chris Mudd, Tom Manning, Mark Suse, Gilberto Nobrega, and Paul Green contributed to this episode.