A Republican candidate for the state legislature in Maine who made shocking statements denouncing two student protest leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the Parkland, Florida murders, calling one a “bald face liar” and another a “skinhead lesbian,” is no longer running unopposed.
Leslie Gibson, a Navy veteran running for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives, became furious after teen journalist David Hogg and his classmate Emma Gonzales pushed for stronger gun control laws and called out the NRA for enabling the epidemic of gun violence that claims tens of thousands of lives every year.
Hogg denounced NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and accused the NRA of working with gun manufacturers to control Congress.
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“She owns these congressmen,” Hogg said in a TV interview, adding, “She doesn’t care about these children’s lives.”
That set off Gibson, who tweeted that Hogg was a “bald-faced liar” and a moron.
Gibson also attacked Gonzales, the bisexual teen who has been outspoken about the need for sensible gun laws, and said: “there is nothing she has to say unless you’re frothing at the mouth moonbat.”
The sent Hogg to Twitter with a message:
Hey freinds in Maine! Who wants to run against this hate loving politician he's is running UNOPPOSED RUN AGAINST HIM I don't care what party JUST DO IT. https://t.co/vRR7p1ZHKf
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 14, 2018
That inspired Eryn Gilchrist, a 28-year-old Democrat from Greene, Maine, who works for a medical device company, to run for office for the first time.
Gilchrist filed the necessary paperwork to get on the ballot today, which was the final deadline because she said she felt so “horrified and embarrassed” at the thought of Gibson representing the 57th state district.
“I would really have been happy to partake in representative democracy by voting,” Gilchrist told the Sun Journal newspaper.
The state’s Democratic party welcomed Gilchrist.
“We could not be happier to have Eryn run,” House Speaker Sara Gideon said in a prepared statement to the Sun Journal. “She is a concerned member of her community who cares about the future of her neighbors – and, like many other Democrats across Maine, she’s now stepping up to help them.”
Gilchrist is a native of Connecticut who came to Maine to attend Bates College, from which she graduated in 2013.
She said she now intends to work “hard over the next several months to earn the trust and support of people throughout my community.”
Gibson has since apologized for his remarks about Hogg and Gonzales, but the damage has been done, and people know now how he really feels and what is in his head.
Whether the conservative Republican voters of Maine will respond to Gilchrist is yet to be seen, but the fact that it is now a two-person, two-party race is good for American democracy.
Gilchrist becomes one of the hundreds of women who have stepped forward since the Women’s march and the #MeToo movement to become active in politics and speak out for issues that matter to them.
As horrible as the murder of 17 innocents in Parkland was, this is a positive result that speaks to the strength of the American democracy, to bring forward citizen-leaders who are willing to take on the cynical, corrupt and misguided political hacks.