Gabriel E. Gomez, a former US Navy SEAL and private equity investor, kicked off his campaign for the Republican nomination for US Senate this morning with a website, press release, and video emphasizing his bilingual background and promising to work against Washington’s partisanship and pettiness.
Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants who was born in Los Angeles, opens the video by introducing himself in Spanish, before loosely translating.
“For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, today, I’m announcing my run for US Senate,” he says, speaking directly to the camera. “... I’m not a politician, so I’ll have a very different kind of campaign.”
Like most Republicans who run statewide in Massachusetts, Gomez does not mention his party affiliation in the video or feature it prominently on his website. Instead, he highlights his service as a Navy SEAL and expresses a general anti-Washington sentiment, without getting specific on issues.
“If you’re happy with the way things are going in our government, I’m not your kind of candidate,” he says.
Gomez, 47, who took out nomination papers Monday to run in the special election to replace Senator John F. Kerry, will not speak publicly until a later date. He plans a formal campaign kick-off event on Feb. 28.
“I’m running because I refuse to be cynical about America or about America’s future,” he said in a lengthy statement released Monday night. “I’m a doer and an optimist by nature and especially about our country. Certainly people will say, ‘This can’t be fixed.’ Well, I’ve spent a good part of my life working on and accomplishing a lot of things most people said were either too hard or impossible.”
His entry to the race sets up a contested Republican primary, pitting Gomez against state Representative Daniel B. Winslow, a former aide to Governor Mitt Romney.
Gomez had previously said that he was likely to run, and party insiders have been preparing for his campaign, following the decision by better-known figures, such as former senator Scott Brown, to stay out of the race.
Gomez has begun hiring staff, including Lenny Alcivar, a former campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker, Gail Gitcho, a former aide to Romney and Brown, and Bradley D. Crate, a former Romney aide who will serve as treasurer for the campaign.
Though largely unknown, Gomez is quietly gathering support from top Republicans. He will now have until Feb. 27 to collect 10,000 certified signatures from voters to qualify for the April 30 primary.
In a statement Monday, Gomez decried partisanship in Washington, but did not outline his position on any specific issues.
“I’m not a politician, and there will be times when folks will ask me questions about the inner working of politics that I don’t know about,” he said.
“I’m a quick study. I’ll figure all the political jargon out, but I’m not going to adopt it.”
Gomez is in the process of hiring a major firm to gather his signatures, SpoonWorks Inc., at a cost of more than $100,000, said a top GOP official who has been consulting with Gomez.
Harold Hubschman, owner of the company, would not comment, saying he does not discuss his clients’ business publicly.
There is concern among Republicans that the short time window for gathering signatures, amid rough weather, could jeopardize the party’s chances of fielding a candidate.
Hubschman, who has been paid more than $2.5 million over the last decade on petition drives for state races and referendums, according to state campaign finance records, said it can be done.
“We know we can do it,” Hubschman said. “It’s not impossible. It’s just very difficult.”
Winslow will also use a signature-gathering firm to supplement his volunteer workers, he said.
He has put $100,000 of his own money into the campaign, much of which will be spent on that effort to make sure he can get on the primary ballot.
State Senate minority leader Bruce E. Tarr, a Republican of Gloucester, is also weighing a run.
Democrats, with a far larger political infrastructure and candidates with more name recognition, are not facing the same obstacle.
The top Democratic candidates are both congressmen: US Representatives Edward J. Markey of Malden and Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston.
Both had volunteers gathering signatures during the storm and its aftermath.