May 7, 2013

Gomez faces uphill battle in Massachusetts

Republican skepticism is blocking the flow of money and manpower that helped Scott Brown.

By STEVE PEOPLES/The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Gabriel Gomez, Edward Markey
click image to enlarge

Edward Markey, left, and Gabriel Gomez

The tea party donors who lined up behind Brown worked against Gomez in the days before last week's primary.

"He's pledged his support for Obama's policies on immigration reform (amnesty) and gun control," says a fundraising appeal for Gomez's primary opponent, Michael Sullivan, released by the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, a tea party-backed political action committee. "We must defeat Obama supporter, Gabriel Gomez."

Gomez has one advantage that Brown did not: the ability to tap super political action committees, which emerged in full force after Brown's 2010 race.

He has so far resisted taking the so-called "People's Pledge" that helped prevent outside groups from spending money in the state's last high-profile Senate contest. Without such a pledge, Gomez could be the beneficiary of super PACs that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money on his behalf.

Markey is trying to make Gomez's refusal to sign the pledge a campaign issue.

"I'm going to keep pressuring him," Markey said at a Monday news conference. "Obviously he doesn't want to sign it because the Koch brothers" -- a reference to conservative political supporters David and Charles Koch -- "Karl Rove, would be able to come into this state."

Eric Fehrnstrom, previously a top aide to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, already is working on advertising to help Gomez through the super PAC known as the Committee for a Better Massachusetts, which raised at least $50,000 in the weeks before the primary election, relying upon just three donors. But in a race that's expected to cost millions, it's unclear how many donors will bet big on Gomez.

Some of the party's most prominent donors in recent days said they knew little about Gomez, and that it was simply too early to know whether he could make the race competitive. And none planned to donate until that question was answered.

Many are waiting to take their cues from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and to see whether it would devote major resources on the race. So far, the committee has set up websites and low-cost online videos attacking Markey, but it hasn't yet decided whether to make more significant investments in television advertising until conducting its own polling.


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