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The Romney-fication of Gabriel Gomez The Romney-fication of Gabriel Gomez

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The Romney-fication of Gabriel Gomez


Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez speaks at an event in South Boston, Thursday, April 4, 2013. Gomez is campaigning for his party's nomination in the special April 30, 2013 primary. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Gabriel Gomez often gets compared to Scott Brown, whose 2010 special election victory he hopes to duplicate. But Gomez's opponents are starting to link him to a different Bay State Republican: Mitt Romney.

A story in Thursday's Boston Globe reported that six years worth of Gomez's tax returns revealed that he earned more than $10 million over that time period working in private equity -- the same field that made Romney his fortune but won him scorn during his presidential bid. Democratic National Committee press secretary Michael Czin wasted no time connecting the two Republicans, saying in an email to reporters on Thursday, "It's hard to tell if the Globe was talking about Mitt Romney's finances and business practices or Gabriel Gomez's."

Czin isn't the first Democrat to link Gomez to Romney. On the night the former Navy SEAL won the GOP primary, Senate Majority PAC referred to Gomez as "Mitt Romney Jr." in a release. Despite serving one term as governor, Romney is unpopular in Massachusetts, a state he lost to President Obama by more than 20 points last year.

Recent coverage of the Senate race may make it easier for Democrats to continue to invoke Romney. The Springfield Republican on Wednesday reported that about half the money Gomez has raised during his campaign came from individuals working in private equity or finance more generally. Meanwhile, all the attention surrounding the controversial $281,500 tax deduction Gomez claimed on his Cohasset home has highlighted the candidate's personal wealth.

The Romney comparison serves two purposes for Democrats. First, it connects Gomez with the national GOP, a brand most Bay State Republicans avoid at all costs when running for office. Second, it could make it harder for Gomez to connect with everyday, working class people in the same way Brown did while touring around the state in his truck.

Gomez has his own strengths that could prevent this narrative from sticking. It's far from certain that voters will buy the image of Gomez, a son of Colombian immigrants who served his country as a Navy SEAL, as a "vulture capitalist," the label that stuck to Romney. But that won't stop Democrats from lobbing every Gomez-Romney comparison they can think of. If the advertisements haven't written themselves, Democrats are hard at work writing them now.

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