June 17, 2013
SITTING ON THEIR HANDS IN MASSACHUSETTS: Salena Zito: GOP not seizing chance to stun Dems.
Republicans have talked about pursuing a different kind of candidate since what seems like forever. Heck, the national party even convened a special, secret task force just for that purpose late last year, after losing key demographic groups such as women and Hispanics.
Yet, given exactly the kind of candidate they hire people to find out in the hinterlands, Republicans are oddly not engaged with helping him cross the finish line in a special election that would significantly stun Democrats.
Gabriel Gomez is a Massachusetts Republican running to fill John Kerry’s vacated U.S. Senate seat; the 47-year-old political newcomer is within striking distance of wounding Democrats right where it hurts.
Gomez, a first-generation American whose parents came here from Colombia, has a compelling life story that includes an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and service as a Navy SEAL and fighter pilot. He is Roman Catholic, personally pro-life; fluent in Spanish; a father of four who met his wife when he was deployed as a SEAL in Grenada, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer.
His opponent, Congressman Ed Markey, began his Washington career the same year that Apple Computer was founded in Steve Jobs’ garage, “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” was Billboard’s No. 1 song and the United States celebrated its bicentennial. . . .
Republicans have spent 10 years telling themselves their problem with Hispanic voters on Election Day is fixable because those same voters share so many Republican values. But that will be just theory until they start electing Latinos to high-profile offices as Republicans.
Special elections present special opportunities; winning one as a surprise does more to reboot a party than a dozen blue-ribbon commissions, task forces and post-mortem conferences ever could.
Democrats know they have a problem; privately, they worry about Markey’s long, unremarkable Washington career. So they have called in the two best reinforcements they could think of: outside money and some speechifying by Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, crickets.
I guess a Gomez victory wouldn’t generate enough revenues for consultants or something.