Democratic groups target GOP's Gomez in new TV adsBy STEVE LeBLANC , Associated Press
Jun. 7, 2013 4:35 PM ET
BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gabriel Gomez said Friday that he's unfazed by national Democratic groups' plans to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads during the final weeks of Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election.
The decisions "to flood Massachusetts with more dirty, negative attacks prove that national Democrats are now in a full-fledged panic," Gomez said.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic-aligned Senate Majority PAC both unveiled separate 30-second television ads targeting Gomez, the GOP Senate hopeful.
They are the first television ads from outside groups in the contest between Gomez and his Democratic rival, Edward Markey, to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of John Kerry to become secretary of state. The DSCC has set aside $750,000 for television ads to help Markey, while the Senate Majority PAC planned to invest another $700,000.
The Senate Majority PAC ad, called "Trust," says Gomez supports a plan to cut Social Security and would raise the retirement age.
Gomez has expressed support for a proposed change in Social Security benefits known as chained CPI that has also been backed by President Barack Obama, but is opposed by Markey. The switch would cut spending on benefit programs by $130 billion over 10 years, although Obama has said his administration would protect the most vulnerable.
Gomez has also said he supports a very gradual increase in the retirement age, adding one month to the age every year for 24 years, ultimately increasing the retirement age by two years.
The DSCC ad covers some of the same ground but also says Gomez supports protecting tax breaks for corporations and eliminating coverage of mammograms and cancer screenings while raising prescription cost.
Gomez has said he won't take a no-new-taxes pledge and supports "comprehensive tax reform." He said his ideal plan would include lowering the corporate tax rate to less than 30 percent; closing corporate loopholes, such as deductions for private jets; and ending personal tax loopholes, such as the carried interest deduction.
The reference to mammograms and cancer screenings is apparently a reference to Gomez's opposition to Obama's 2010 federal health care law. Gomez has said the decision to overhaul health care should be left to states, much like the landmark 2006 law in Massachusetts, which laid the groundwork for the federal law.
Gomez also said Friday it's odd that Markey, a champion of the so-called People's Pledge that discourages spending by outside groups on political ads, is relying on money from Washington Democrats and what Gomez called "extreme special interest groups."
Gomez, however, has refused to sign the pledge and is also relying on the state Republican Party to help pay for his television ads.
Markey campaign spokesman Andrew Zucker said in a statement Friday that Gomez' "feigned outrage over outside spending is ridiculous given the fact that the Republicans were the first to jump into the race."
Throughout the campaign, it was Markey who had warned of what he predicted would be a tsunami of spending by the NRA and other conservative groups.
Spending by those groups on behalf of Gomez, who has trailed Markey in polls, has yet to materialize however, while Markey has enjoyed the support of outside groups, including environmental advocacy organizations.
The League of Conservation Voters has pledged to spend $400,000 on mailings to benefit the Democratic nominee while NextGen Committee, a group backed by California billionaire Thomas Steyer and opposed to the Keystone XL Pipeline, has launched an online ad campaign for Markey, including spending $153,000 for ads on Pandora, a popular Internet radio site. NextGen is also planning to start canvassing on behalf of Markey.
The election is June 25.