The year was 1976, Gabriel Gomez remembers.
He was playing Little League.
Rep. Ed Markey was first running for Congress in Massachusetts.
Now Gomez, a former Navy SEAL and son of Colombian immigrants, will face Markey in a contest for the former Senate seat of Secretary of State John Kerry.
In a bilingual victory address last night, the Republican who defeated a former federal prosecutor with a good old Boston name of Sullivan and a state representative in their party’s primary spoke of the brief campaign ahead.
The special election is June 25. The Republicans already are on Markey’s case. And Markey is already on Gomez’s:
“In a sign of how seriously the Markey campaign views the upcoming challenge,” Bloomberg’s Annie Linskey reports, his staff took just four minutes after Gomez was declared the victor to put out a statement accusing him of being “the first domino for the national GOP seeking to take control of the U.S. Senate and enact an extreme agenda.”
“Gerald Ford was president. The Internet did not yet exist,” he said. “Eight-track players were big. Boston’s first album had just come out. The first Rocky movie debuted in theaters.”
“The median price of new homes was$44,000. Our national debt, which today is over 16 Trillion, was not even 1 Trillion. Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet.”
“Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” he said of the 36-year House veteran he will face in June. “Congress has enough politicians. If we keep sending politicians to Washington we will keep getting the same results.”
“If you are looking for a rigid partisan, I’m not your guy,” Gomez said. “If you are looking for a person who will take orders from party leaders, I’m not your guy. If you are looking for someone who refuses to work with the other party, I’m not your guy. If you are looking for someone who will participate in driving our national debt higher, I’m not your guy. If you are looking for an experienced slick talking politician, I’m definitely not your guy.”
“But, if you are looking for a person that will reach across party lines…I’d be honored to have your support. If you are looking for a person who will put principle ahead of politics…join our campaign. If you are looking for a person who believes we can turn this country around and grow our economy…it’s go time.”
In the bluest of blue states, a Republican named Scott Brown succeeded the long-serving and late Ted Kennedy for a time. Brown, who lost last year to the first female senator from the Bay State, Elizabeth Warren, campaigned with a working man’s profile. Gomez will campaign with a service man’s profile (and, oh, a Harvard Business School degree). He supports gay marriage and a path to citizenship for the undocumented.
In 1976, Massachusetts was as Democratic as a state came.
Today, Republican activists like what they see:
— Alex Castellanos (@alexcast) May 1, 2013