National Republicans who have so far kept their distance from the Massachusetts US Senate special election suddenly jumped in on Friday, with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell offering to triple donations sent to GOP nominee Gabriel E. Gomez.
McConnell appealed to Massachusetts donors in an e-mail sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, saying he would match donations by three times, up to $32,000.
“The outcome of Massachusetts Senate Special Election will determine the tone and tenor of American politics going into the 2014 midterm elections,” McConnell wrote. “We have the opportunity to send a clear message to Senator Harry Reid that Washington, D.C., is broken and that the status quo is not good enough. Help us send an outsider to Washington by contributing now!”
Gomez’s campaign welcomed the support noncommittally: “We appreciate any support that helps get Gabriel Gomez’s message of reforming Washington to the people of Massachusetts,” said campaign spokesman Will Ritter
Democrats both locally and nationally pounced on the news, suggesting that it showed Gomez to be aligning with conservative forces in the Senate.
“I think it’s an indication that a vote for Gabriel Gomez is a vote for a GOP Senate and a radical right-wing agenda,” said Andrew Zucker, spokesman for the Democratic nominee for Senate, Edward J. Markey.
Ritter declined to say whether Gomez would support McConnell for majority leader. “Gabriel Gomez is not beholden to any party and will vote for whoever will do the best job representing the people in the US Senate,” he said.
He also said that Markey, currently a US congressman, started the race with a fund-raising advantage and is expected to pick up advertising support from interest groups such as the League of Conservation Voters and a group funded by a California billionaire protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has also sent staff to Massachusetts to support Gomez’s campaign, Ritter said.