By Bob Salsberg
---- — BOSTON (AP) — Gabriel Gomez, the Republican candidate in a special election for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, confronted his own party yesterday, saying the GOP has failed to deliver change and gets “stuck in the past.”
In a bid to win over independent voters in a state that votes heavily Democratic, Gomez said Republicans need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
“One of the things I am going to change in Washington is my own party,” Gomez said in prepared remarks for a campaign stop in Quincy. “I am fully aware that in a few months from now, some in the Republican Party will consider me to be a pain in the butt. And I am OK with that.”
The Cohasset businessman and former Navy SEAL cited several positions that he said put him at odds with national party leaders, including his support for gay marriage, immigration reform and environmental protections.
“Right now, the GOP is a party that has promised more change than it has delivered and is sometimes stuck in the past,” he said.
Gomez, a political newcomer, faces veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey in the June 25 election to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Democrats quickly dismissed Gomez’s attempt to put distance between himself and the national party, and launched online ads Monday that pointed to a fundraising appeal sent on Gomez’s behalf last week by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader.
“Gabriel Gomez is a central part of (McConnell’s) plan to take over the United States Senate for the Republican Party,” Markey said following a campaign stop in Brookline. “Coupled with control of the (House) that would pretty much signal an end to the Obama agenda in our country.”