WEIGHING ANOTHER RUN, GOMEZ SEES WARREN AS BEATABLE [+ VIDEO]
By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 12, 2017…..Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez said Wednesday that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fundraising advantage heading into a 2018 re-election campaign should not deter any Republicans, including himself, from challenging the liberal icon.
Gomez, who emerged as a newcomer on the political scene in 2013 to capture the GOP nomination for Senate to replace John Kerry in Washington, told reporters that he continues to discuss the prospects of another campaign with family and friends, but has not made a decision.
“I’m still thinking about that thing very hard,” Gomez said, while at the State House to support suspended Suffolk Probate Register Felix Arroyo.
Gomez, who followed up his military career by going into private equity investment, believes Warren could be vulnerable in Massachusetts in 2018 despite her strong national profile as a voice for the liberal opposition to President Donald Trump.
He said the national political environment is one factor he is weighing as he considers another run, but believes the 2018 race would be vastly different for him than in 2013 when he ran under a compressed timeline in a special election.
“It’s really making sure we’ve got a crystal clear strategy if we decide to go, because I do think whoever decides to take on this challenge there is a path to victory against Miss Warren,” Gomez said.
Gomez captured the Republican nomination following the resignation of John Kerry from the Senate to become secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Gomez lost to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who was a member of the House at the time.
Though Gomez declined to discuss possible strategies to take on Warren, he said, “The nuts and bolts is that there’s a clear distinction on who is really prepared to serve the state in the capacity of the senatorship, and that’s as far as I’ll go on that.”
Since defeating Scott Brown, Warren has been a popular political figure in Massachusetts, but recent polling has suggested that her strength may be starting to wane. A Morning Consult poll released this week found that her approval rating had fallen to 56 percent, with 38 percent of voters disapproving of the job she is doing.
Warren’s disapproval rating with her home state voters was the sixth highest of any senator in the country.
Whoever challenges Warren, however, will be at a significant financial disadvantage at the start. Warren ended 2016 with over $4.8 million in her campaign account, and her campaign reported Wendesday that it had raised $5.25 million over the first quarter of 2017 pushing her cash on hand to more than $9 million.
Gomez said Warren’s financial position would not factor into his decision to run.
“Absolutely not. Whoever decides to get into this race will be able to raise a lot of money, for good reasons. I think there is a strong desire out there for someone to serve the state in a different capacity than what she’s doing. She can raise as much money as she wants, but I think whoever decides to get into the arena with her will be able to match,” he said.
Gomez went on to say that a Republican with a good strategy may not need to match her fundraising dollar for dollar to be successful, but could.
“I think somebody could actually be able to outraise her too if they really wanted to,” Gomez said.
Federal campaign finance records through the end of 2016 show that Gomez has almost $42,000 in his account left over from the 2013 race, as well as $562,100 in debt.
Gomez denied that his campaign ended in debt, and said the loans that he personally made to the campaign had been forgiven.
Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican, announced last week that he was setting up a federal campaign account to explore a possible run against Warren that could hinge on his ability to successfully raise money quickly. Wealthy Winchester investor John Kingston has also been reportedly weighing a campaign for the Republican nomination.
Gomez said he knows Diehl “fairly well” from his first Senate race and has respect for anyone willing to run for public office.
“I think he’s good person annd I’ve got nothing else to say about that. I wish him well if he does decide to step in,” he said.