And lose lose they did.
On Tuesday, voters in Massachusetts voted to fill John Kerry’s vacated Senate seat with Democrat Ed Markey. Markey is the epitome of career politics and high-tax liberalism. The Republican candidate in the race, Gabriel Gomez, is a successful businessman and former Navy SEAL.
So how did the GOP manage to lose this race?
The answer, according to Republican strategist Curt Anderson, might surprise you. Via Politico (emphasis mine):
Let’s be clear, this was a winnable race. The Democrat candidate, Congressman Ed Markey, ran a lackluster campaign that inspired no one. His 37 years in Congress made him the poster boy for term limits, he has 271 votes to increase taxes, he barely showed up on the trail, and he is to the left of the average voter in Massachusetts. In short, he was a worse candidate than even Martha Coakley.
As it turns out, Republicans had the perfect candidate in Gabriel Gomez. New to politics, son of immigrants from Colombia, bilingual, Naval Academy grad, Navy pilot, Navy SEAL, successful businessman. He started out green, but was a remarkably quick study, and depending on your view, either won the debates against his veteran opponent, or at worst, held his own in the first two and won convincingly in the final debate.
Oh, and not only is Gabriel a Latino success story he’s exactly what many of the major donors in the Republican world claim they desperately want – a moderate on social issues. He supports gay marriage, he supports the Toomey-Manchin gun control bill, he supports the Gang of 8 immigration reform proposal, and he even calls himself a “green Republican.”
Only one problem, those moderate Republican major donors who love to complain did not show up to defend this candidate and try to win this election. The total spending from the Democrat side dwarfed the spending on the Republican side. There was one notable exception; some fellow from California named John Jordan did spend more than a million dollars on an independent expenditure campaign promoting and defending Gomez.
Meanwhile, the left was there in a big way, spending more than 4 million dollars in the final three weeks savaging Gomez, and that’s merely the part we know about. The real number was certainly much more than that.
It is interesting to compare the national media attention in this race to the much-publicized race of Scott Brown when the Republican won over voters to capture Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat. How many people have even heard the name Gabriel Gomez, let alone donated to his campaign to help the GOP gain a seat in the Senate?