The ‘Klan’: Republican Senate candidate tangles with conservative activists

Christopher Bedford Former Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation
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Gabriel Gomez, the Massachusetts Republican who lost a special election to replace now-Secretary of State John Kerry, apologized Monday after a weekend-long social media saga that began when he labeled two state Republican activists part of the “Klan.”

Gomez admitted that the tiff wasn’t caused by any single action by the two activists — Rob Eno, who publishes the conservative site Red Mass Group, and Christopher Pinto, who is a Republican in Worcester. The Boston Globe reports that Gomez characterized the post as “a general response to Red Mass Group, as well as to activists questioning whether he, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker, and former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, were real Republicans.”

Gomez also cited actions by New Hampshire conservatives, who recently protested Brown’s call for a federal ban on “assault” rifles.

The message, which Gomez printed Saturday and later deleted, read, “I thank God every day for people like Chris Pinto and Rob Eno because they serve as perfect examples for my kids of who and what not to be when they grow up … the level of ignorance and intolerance exhibited by them and their small ‘Klan’ are an embarrassment to our civil society. Merry Christmas.”

“I am still puzzled as to why Mr. Gomez would choose to attack both Mr. Pinto and myself,” Eno wrote in an email to The Daily Caller. “Both of us asked others to help his campaign, and Mr. Pinto gave countless hours as a volunteer making phone calls, and delivering signs on Mr. Gomez’s behalf.”

On Monday morning, Gomez hedged a little, telling Boston Herald Radio, saying he didn’t mean the Ku Klux Klan. But, he said, “These are the kind of people that make the Republican Party hated in Massachusetts.”

A few hours later, Gomez apologized on Facebook, writing, “Over the weekend, I regrettably used inappropriate language to share my disagreement with some with whom I disagree on specific social and policy-related issues. While attempting to speak out against those who question the commitment of fellow Republicans, I used careless language in characterizing their views that clouded the point I was trying to make. I was wrong to do so, and I apologize to Rob Eno and to Chris Pinto.”

Though a former Navy SEAL and successful businessman, Gomez has raised conservative ire because he favors expanded gun regulation, an “assault” weapons ban, amnesty for illegal immigrants and same-sex marriage. And although he says he is pro-life, he has said he wouldn’t challenge abortion laws.

Many of these moderate platforms are attributed to his running in a deeply blue state, but nonetheless, his special 2013 Senate candidacy failed to excite national conservative donors, and the hoped-for flood of out-of-state money never came.

Gomez lost by 10 points to Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, but some Republicans hope he will run for a full six-year Senate term in the regular election in 2014. The Herald reports that he is expected to make a decision next year.

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