3 Republican candidates for US Senate prepare for primary
When Massachusetts Republicans go to the polls on Tuesday, they will have a choice among three candidates competing in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate.
The seat, which was left vacant when Sen. John Kerry resigned to become U.S. secretary of state, is currently held by interim Sen. William ‘Mo' Cowan, who was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to serve until a special election is held June 25.
The winner of Tuesday's GOP primary will face the winner of the Democratic contest between two sitting congressmen: U.S Rep. Steven Lynch and U.S Rep. Edward Markey, both of Boston.
Massachusetts has a mixed primary system: Registered Republicans and Democrats may only vote for candidates in their own party, but independent or unenrolled voters may choose any candidate, regardless of party.
Here are profiles of the three Republicans who appear on Tuesday's ballot.
Gabriel Gomez is hoping to be the new face of the Republican Party.
The son of Colombian immigrants, Gomez first learned to speak English in kindergarten, then went on to become a Navy pilot and SEAL, earn an MBA at Harvard Business School and launch a successful career in private equity.
As Republicans search for candidates to expand their appeal to minority voters, Gomez appears to fit the bill. But while Gomez may have the perfect résumé, it's unclear how the campaign newcomer will fare in Massachusetts' famously rough-and-tumble politics.
The 47-year-old Cohasset businessman has embraced his heritage, speaking Spanish in campaign ads and portraying his life story as the American dream.
Born in Los Angeles, Gomez was still a toddler when the family moved to Washington state, where his father sold hops for a living. Gomez said those formative years helped set the course for his life.
"I saw how this country embraced my parents and gave them a chance at the dream, gave me a chance at the dream," he said. "I wanted to serve. I wanted to pay back."
Gomez served first as a Navy pilot, then as an elite Navy SEAL from 1992 to 1995.
After leaving the Navy, Gomez graduated from Harvard Business School and entered the world of private equity.
He eventually landed a job at the Boston-based investment firm Advent International, where he's worked on pension funds and retirement systems. He's also helped launch regional businesses like apparel company Lululemon onto the national stage. He resigned to run for Senate.
Gomez says he's a model of how Republicans can broaden their appeal to independent and Democratic voters by talking about basic GOP principles like fiscal discipline and smaller government.
"It's strong coming from someone who grew up just like them," Gomez said.
While Gomez has adopted conservative economic policies, he's also embraced more moderate social policies.
He supports gay marriage, but says it should be decided state by state. He personally opposes abortion, citing his Catholic faith, but hasn't advocated overturning Roe v. Wade.
Of the three GOP hopefuls, Gomez has reported raising the most money -- nearly $1.2 million -- although that includes $600,000 he loaned his campaign.
He reported having $499,743 left in his account heading into the final stretch to Tuesday's primary.
Republican Michael Sullivan was born one of seven children to a Boston Irish family, leaving college to take a job on the factory floor of a local razor company.
But Sullivan was also determined to get ahead, eventually reaching the upper echelons of law enforcement, serving as district attorney, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, and director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Along the way he would help investigate both the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the failed attempt to blow up an airliner using shoe bombs.
Now Sullivan is trying to convince GOP voters he's the true conservative in the race.
The 58-year-old Sullivan was born in Boston's rough-and-tumble South End to one of just two Irish Catholic families on his street. He attended Boston College, but left after a year to take a job at the Gillette razor company -- a "temporary job" that lasted 16 years.
He left the company in 1989, opening a small law practice in Holbrook and running for state representative. He was elected in 1990 and re-elected in 1992 and 1994. He earned his law degree from Suffolk College in 1993.
When the Plymouth County district attorney died in 1995, former Republican Gov. William Weld tapped Sullivan. He was elected to fill out the rest of the term in 1996 and re-elected in 1998.
In 2001, Sullivan was asked to take over as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. His confirmation process dragged on until the Sept. 11 attacks. Within days he was plunged into the massive investigation.
Sullivan said the office didn't have an antiterrorism task force and "had to create something from scratch."
Just months after the attacks, Sullivan's office led the prosecution of Richard Reid, a British citizen who claimed allegiance to Osama bin Laden, for trying to ignite explosives in his shoes on a Paris-to-Miami American Airlines flight that was diverted to Logan International Airport.
Sullivan was chosen to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the final two and a half years of the administration of President George W. Bush.
After leaving public service Sullivan took a job as partner with the Ashcroft Law Firm, founded by former U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft.
Sullivan describes himself as "pro-life" on abortion and a "traditionalist" on gay marriage.
The Abington resident is also the only candidate to criticize the U.S. Senate for trying to subject more firearms buyers to federal background checks.
He said he supports making sure all records that identify someone as declared mentally ill are as readily available as criminal history records. He also said convicted felons who attempt to buy weapons should be prosecuted.
Although Sullivan may be the most familiar name on the Republican ballot, he trails his fellow GOP candidates in fundraising.
When he was a young attorney and serving on his town's planning board in 1990, Daniel Winslow came home to a shocking find.
"My house was bombed by a bad guy," said Winslow, now a state representative from Norfolk. Neither he nor his wife, pregnant with the couple's first child, was home when someone threw a device through a window, but the incident left them shaken.
The ‘bad guy' was upset by Winslow's stance on a zoning issue, he said. Police never had enough evidence to charge the person who Winslow believes did it.
Winslow alluded to the incident last week in the aftermath of the deadly April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, comparing his decision not to give up his town post or be intimidated by the attack on his home to a similar need to forge ahead with the business at hand following the attack on Boston.
"We stand together against those who would seek to impose on the majority the twisted perspective of the self-appointed few," he said.
Winslow, 54, doesn't doubt the conventional political wisdom that he's an underdog in next week's primary. But he is also something of a wild card in the race, a cerebral candidate -- socially moderate and fiscally conservative -- who has followed an unorthodox career path and hasn't shied away from pointed criticism of his own party.
"The majority of voters in America for the next 30 years are women, millennials and new Americans. And the Republican party has to speak to and be relevant to those voters or we will continue to lose," he said.
Winslow grew up in Amherst, in Western Massachusetts, the oldest among five brothers. His father, Joel, started a small business and his mother, Dolores, a first-generation Italian-American, was a registered nurse.
He graduated from Tufts University with a degree in political science and earned his law degree from Boston College in 1983.
After 12 years as a private attorney, he was appointed to a judgeship on the state's district court in 1995 by then-Republican Gov. William Weld. The father of three joined Gov. Mitt Romney's administration as the governor's chief legal counsel in 2003.
He left the post two years later to return to private practice until 2010, when he was a campaign legal adviser to Republican Scott Brown, who scored an upset victory in a special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. Later that year, Winslow won a seat in the state House of Representatives.
Winslow was was the first Republican to declare for the Senate after Brown's decision not to run in the special election. Federal campaign finance records show he's poured more than $150,000 of his own money into the campaign so far.
The only Republican in the race who supports abortion rights, Winslow said he prefers a "big tent approach" on social issues.
"My focus is on the many more issues [Republicans] have in common, rather than the few issues that divide us," he said.
Education: B.S. in Systems Engineering from United States Naval Academy, 1987; M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, 1997.
Career: U.S. Navy pilot and Navy SEAL officer until 1996; investment banker with Charlotte, N.C.-based firm of Bowles Hollowell Conner, Boston private equity firm Summit Partners and Boston-based investment firm Advent International.
Family: Lives in Cohasset with his wife, Sarah, and four children: Olivia, Alexander, Antonia and Max.
Education: B.A. in Business Administration from Boston College, 1979; J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, 1983.
Career highlights: Started off at the Gillette Company in 1973 on the factory floor, worked his way up to executive management; state representative from 1990 until appointed Plymouth District Attorney in 1995; U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts from 2001 to 2009; director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from 2006 to 2009.
Family: Lives in Abington with his wife, Terry, and four children: Joseph, Kelly, Alyson and James.
Education: B.A. in political science from Tufts University, 1980; J.D. from Boston College Law School, 1983.
Career highlights: Practiced law at firm of Sherdin Lodgen, 1983-1995. District court judge from 1995 to 2003; chief legal counsel to Gov. Mitt Romney until 2005; Legal counsel to Republican Scott Brown in race for U.S. Senate in 2010; state representative from the 9th Norfolk District.
Family: Lives in Norfolk with his wife, Susan, and three children.
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