The special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts has turned ugly, with Republican Gabriel Gomez (photo: right) calling Democrat Ed Markey "pond scum" after a Markey TV ad featuring a split screen with Gomez and the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The Markey campaign has also run an ad ripping Gomez for opposing a ban on large-capacity gun magazines.
"And Gomez is against banning high-capacity magazines like the ones used in the Newtown shooting," the narrator said in the Markey commercial, referring to the shooter at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, who killed 20 students six adults last December.
Gomez, a political newcomer, and Markey, a U.S. representative for the 7th District, now in his 37th year in Congress, are battling for the Senate seat vacated earlier this year when Democrat John Kerry retired from the Senate to become secretary of state. Neither candidate is pulling any punches in a campaign that doesn't promise to get any prettier between now and the June 25 election.
"Comparing him to bin Laden?" said the voice-over in a Gomez ad. "Now Markey actually blames Gomez for the Newtown school shooting. Disgusting. 37 years in Congress. Dirty Ed Markey."
"He is dirty Ed Markey," Gomez insisted in an interview aired Thursday on National Public Radio. "And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, like to put me up next to bin Laden, he's just gotta be called what he is. It's that simple."
The Markey ad focused on the role Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, played as a spokesman for Special Operations OPSEC Education Team, a group of former military and intelligence services personnel who say their mission is to stop politicians from "politically capitalizing on U.S. national security operations and secrets." During last year's presidential election campaign, the OPSEC (for Operations Security) team released a 22-minute video entitled Dishonorable Disclosures: How leaks and politics threaten our national security. The video is harshly critical of President Obama, accusing him of compromising security in order to glorify his role in ordering the May 1, 2011 raid that killed bin Laden.
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Photos of Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez: AP Images