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Mass. GOP Senate Hopeful Gabriel Gomez Campaigns In Blue Berkshires

Massachusetts Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Gabriel Gomez made campaign stops in the Berkshires yesterday where he stressed a bipartisan message. And according to local GOP officials, he’ll have to continue to work hard to win more support in a solidly Democratic part of the state.

In Gabriel Gomez’s second campaign stop in the Berkshires since announcing his candidacy, the Republican met with supporters and employees at Lenco, a Pittsfield based company that designs and manufactures armored vehicles. He was greeted with applause and spoke through a microphone…

Gomez, a former Navy Seal, largely spoke about the importance of maintaining a strong national defense both abroad and at home. He spoke about how the Boston Marathon bombings and efforts of first responders showcase the necessity to be wise about defense cuts.

"They need everything they can to do their missions and to operate safely, and the last thing we need to do is cut back on that," said Gomez.

Gomez also answered questions from the crowd about himself and his beliefs, and was unafraid to stress his moderate message, including his support for background checks for gun buyers at gun shows and over the internet.

Gomez also expressed his willingness to work with Senate Democrats to seek compromise.

“I think we need to get down there, reach across the aisle, and work on the really hard things that's going to take teamwork to get done," said Gomez.

After his visit at Lenco, Gomez met with the Berkshire County Republican Association at the studios of Pittsfield Community Television, where he was interviewed.

In his interview with Berkshire GOP Jim Bronson, Gomez attacked Democratic candidate Congressman Ed Markey for being “hyper-partisan.” He spoke with WAMC after the interview.

"Somebody who votes 99 percent of the time with his party is about as hyper-partisan as they come,  and I think right now why my message is resonating is because people want someone who is going to represent all of them," said Gomez.

Jim Bronson said that because of the lower voter turnout expected at the June 25th special election, it could offer an advantage to a Republican candidate in a Democratic state, particularly because Congressman Markey did not receive early union support.

“This thing could very well be decided by just that add you happen to see today, and without a huge coffer and not a lot of union backing that Markey doesn't have this time, it's quite possible that that and a lower turnout will favor those that are motivated, and we can guarantee the GOP will be motivated," said Bronson.

However, Congressman Markey is maintaining a lead over Gomez in recent polling.

Dave Bubriski, Chairman of the Pittsfield GOP City Committee, said that his strategy will be simple: increase voter turnout.

"In Berkshire County we have approximately 10,000 registered Republicans. The key is getting them turned out and motivation, but special elections usually don't have a large turnout, and we'll be working to increase that turnout," said Bubriski.

Mike Case, Republican State Committeeman for the Berkshire, Hampden and Franklin District, said that Gomez will have to continue appealing to independent voters in order to perform strongly in the Berkshires, an area with a strong Democratic background.

"60 perecent of the voters in Berkshire County are registered independents, and the nice thing about Gabriel Gomez is that he is attractive to them," said Case.

And Jim Bronson hopes that former Republican Senator Scott Brown’s victory in 2010 can set a tone for Gomez.

"It's tough work because it's as grass-roots as it gets, there's not a whole lot of us, and you're always marching uphill," said Bronson. "But we did it before, Scott was in, and we're hoping to do it again."

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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