In the Massachusetts Senate race, Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez is reacting strongly to a TV ad launched Thursday by Democrat Ed Markey criticizing him for opposing a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, which the ad noted were used to carry out the Newtown, Conn. shootings.
“Gomez is against banning assault weapons,” a narrator in the ad says. “And Gomez is against banning high-capacity magazines, like the ones used in the Newtown school shooting.” The narrator continues: “The more you know, the clearer the choice.”
On Friday, Gomez accused the longtime Democratic congressman of blaming him for the Newtown massacre, which killed 20 children and six adults and sparked efforts in Congress to beef up gun laws — which have so far fallen flat.
“[I]n his most recent TV ad, Markey blames me for the horrific Newtown shooting,” Gomez said in a statement Friday. “I guess after 37 years in Congress you lose your sense of decency. Exploiting a tragedy for political gain is sick.”
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring also lashed out at Markey, saying he’s “blaming [Gomez] for horrific murders in Newtown” and calling the ad “disgusting, deplorable and desperate.”
The Markey campaign dismissed Gomez and the NRSC’s pushback as “feigned outrage.”
“If Gabriel Gomez considers it ‘negative’ to highlight his own opposition to banning deadly assault weapons and limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines, then maybe he should rethink his positions, which are out of step with Massachusetts families,” Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker told TPM in an email Friday. “Unlike Gabriel Gomez, who says, ‘I’m not Wayne LaPierre, he can do what he wants,’ Ed Markey has stood up to the gun lobby and will fight for tougher gun laws in the Senate.”
Although the candidates differ on whether to ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips, Gomez and Markey both support legislation by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to extend mandatory background checks to firearm sales at gun shows and on the Internet — a fact that Gomez pointed out in his statement.
Markey led Gomez by 7 points in a survey by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling released Thursday. The special election is on June 25.