I think Republican US Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez has gotten an unfair rap for avoiding the press and public -- it's normal for a candidate, especially an inexperienced one entering a high-profile campaign, to take a little prep time before throwing himself to the wolves. Normally, that's part of the pre-announcement phase, but in this case, thanks to Scott Brown's dithering, Gomez had no choice but to launch immediately and start gathering signatures.
His silent period ended today, with a three-stop tour. I skipped the Quincy debut in favor of stop number two in the lovely hamlet of Shrewsbury. Gomez, looking handsome in a navy suit, open-collared blue button-down, and tassled black loafers, shook a few hands in Brody's Diner, delivered a brief speech, did two TV interviews, and took a few questions from the press.
I thought he was impressive; he wasn't exactly dynamic, but seemed very open and likable. His hands shook during his speech and when talking to the media -- which I found a little endearing, that a guy who has flown military jets would get day-one nerves speaking to shmucks like me. He also left out big chunks of his prepared speech (which he delivered without notes), which could have been a deliberate decision but I suspect was due to nerves.
His message is very Scott-like: Washington politicians bad, regular guy good; rigid partisanship bad, common sense solutions good. If the state's Republican voters are looking for another Scotto, this guy should fit the bill just fine.
In answer to my questions, he said that he would have voted yes on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization had he been in the Senate (see my post about this here), and on same-sex marriage said that "if two people are in love, they should be able to get married."
He also had what I thought was a pretty good line about sequestration: "they've bottled up a virus and mailed it to themselves." I'm less impressed with his populist call for member of congress, Senators, and the President to forego paychecks until they fix it, but I suspect that will play well with GOP voters.
Oh, also, he teased the Globe's Stephanie Ebbert for mis-spelling Colombia, and I do enjoy a pol who gives journos the business.
I still think Michael Sullivan is the favorite to win the nomination, for reasons I gave yesterday, and obviously today was just a first peek at the mostly unknown and untested Gomez, but my first impression is that he'll be a legit contender.