Leslie Gibson, Candidate for Maine House of Representatives, Drops Out
The announcement comes after backlash for comments he made about Parkland shooting survivors.
Leslie Gibson had been running unopposed, as a Republican, for a state House seat in Maine’s 57th district. The controversy began when Gibson insulted two survivors of the Parkland shooting, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, on a Twitter account that has since been deactivated. While Gibson called Hogg a “bald-faced liar”. Since the shooting, Hogg has been the subject of much ridicule from the pro-gun lobby. While his comments towards Hogg are disturbing and disrespectful, his comments on Gonzalez left Republicans and Democrats speechless.
“There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat,” Gibson tweeted. Since the attack on their school, Stoneman-Douglas High School, on Valentine’s Day, both teens are advocating for stricter gun measures. Hogg was the first to address the attack calling on others within the district to challenge Gibson. As of Friday, Democrat Eryn Gilchrist and Republican Thomas Martin Jr., have entered the race.
In a statement to the New York Times, Martin said, Gibson’s comments “give the state a black eye. They weren’t the true feelings of the state or the Republican Party — or any party — I have to believe.”
For her part, Gilchrist released a statement through the Maine Democratic Party saying, “I never thought I would run for office, and I was perfectly content with just remaining a member of the community, but after reading Mr. Gibson’s comments I thought that the people of Greene and Sabattus deserved a representative who will respect people and try to work through their differences to make our lives better.”
Too little too late.
Subsequent tweets from Gibson attempted to manage the damage he had done. Mr. Gibson acknowledged that his responses were “harsh and uncivil” and said it was “inappropriate to single out” the students. However, no amount of apologies could or would save him. In the new world of severe partisan politics, once the court of public opinion is against you, the die is cast.
With Gibson now out of the picture, the race comes between Martin, a seasoned politician, and Gilchrist, the newcomer. Neither had aspirations to enter the ring, at least at this time. Martin previously served as a state senator and had no intention at this time in reentering politics. Gilchrist, by her own admission, was content to leave the political arena to others. However, Gibson’s words have inspired them both to step forward to represent their fellow citizens.
Martin is largely considered a “moderate” Republican and with little know of Gilchrist, the outcome of the race is anyone’s guess.