Gabriel Gomez, the Republican nominee running in this month's special Senate election in Massachusetts, is a Republican, supported by Republicans, with a long history of voting for Republicans. That's the singular message Democrats plan to hammer home to Bay State voters over the next three weeks as the race for Secretary of State John Kerry's old Senate seat enters the final stretch.
Democrats will take advantage of the state's heavy leftward lean between now and the June 25 election by reminding voters of Gomez's party affiliation. Party strategists think morphing Gomez into a prototypical Republican is their best message heading into the home stretch.
That's going to lead to plenty of advertisements like the two released this week by the Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which spent a combined $1.25 million on television ads yesterday. The ads (here and here) accuse Gomez of wanting to raise the retirement age and cut Social Security benefits, messages similar to those run against just about every Republican Senate candidate last year.
The DSCC's ad mentions Gomez's personal wealth, but the who kerfuffle over an historic easement on his house seems to be a thing of the past.
Rep. Ed Markey, the Democratic nominee, has been pounding Gomez for his alleged proximity to national Republicans for weeks. "You saw someone representing the oldest Republican ideas," Markey told reporters after a debate this week. And Democrats were gleeful when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent out a fundraising email on Gomez's behalf last week.
Meanwhile, Gomez will continue to cast Markey as a creature of Washington, given Markey's decades-long career in Congress. "You are basically Washington, D.C.," Gomez told Markey during the debate. "I'm sorry, sir, but you are."
Republicans are also worried that any hope they had of scoring another upset, three years after Scott Brown won the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in another special election in 2010, will fade given the Democrats' money advantage. The state Republican Party has spent money on advertising, but only a fraction of what Democrats have spent.
Brad Todd, one of Gomez's consultants, expressed some of his party's concerns in a series of recent tweets: "Do conservatives have nerve to try & win? Will mod R donor class put its money where mouth is? Is this a party or therapy session?" he asked on May 30.
Another Republican strategist offered a possible alternate message for Gomez's last three weeks on the trail: "WILL SOMEONE SEND THIS GUY SOME F***ING MONEY PLEASE."