As U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey and Republican Gabriel E. Gomez traded
jabs on the first day of the Senate special election campaign, at least one
outside group said it was prepared to pump Bay State airwaves with ads slamming
Gomez in the absence of the "people's pledge."
"There's no people's pledge at this point, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure Markey's successful," said Jeff Gohringer, a spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters. The group released several ads targeting former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in 2011 before Brown made a pact called the people's pledge to ban third-party ads in the 2012 Senate race.
Gomez refused to sign onto the pledge yesterday, and blasted Markey's "hypocrisy" for requesting the pledge while accepting donations from the LCV as well as other third-party groups.
"Let's be honest about it," said Gomez while shaking hands with commuters yesterday morning, "politicians make pledges because nobody trusts them."
Markey complained of the "polluting" effect of the ads yesterday morning, but refused to bar LCV or other supporters from airing them if Gomez doesn't take the pledge.
"You need two people to take the people's pledge," he said, adding he will continue to ask the ex-Navy SEAL to sign on. "I am going to challenge him today, and I'm going to challenge him every day."
The candidates sought to shore up support and undercut the other's message during the frantic first day of the general election campaign. Gomez was bolstered by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which released a memo hitting Markey as a 40-year Washington insider.
Meanwhile, Markey surrounded himself with Democrats at a unity breakfast, and his campaign later tried to douse the growing narrative that Gomez could be the next Brown.
"Republicans were looking for the second coming of Scott Brown. Instead, they got Gabriel Gomez," wrote Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker.
Gomez also challenged Markey to three debates, but Markey declined to go into specifics yesterday.
"We will be debating, you don't have to worry about that," Markey said, saying the debates will put the differences between him and Gomez "out there in stark contrast for the people of Massachusetts to understand."
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