BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Michael Sullivan launched an attack ad Thursday that takes direct aim at Gabriel Gomez, one of his two rivals for the Republican nomination.
The 30-second TV ad, titled “Obama Republican,” focuses on a letter Gomez sent in January to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.
In the letter, Gomez asked Patrick to appoint him as interim U.S. Senator and touted his past support for President Barack Obama’s positions on gun control and immigration.
Gomez criticized Sullivan for being the first candidate to launch a negative ad, labeling it “mudslinging” and an act of desperation by a losing candidate.
In the ad, a narrator asks: “The Washington Republican establishment, will they back a candidate who supports Barack Obama?”
“It’s true,” the narrator continues. “Gabriel Gomez wrote to Deval Patrick saying he supported President Obama and Gomez wrote that he supports the positions that President Obama has taken and will keep his word.”
The ad calls Sullivan “the true independent Republican.”
In the letter to Patrick seeking the temporary Senate post, Gomez wrote that the “two main issues that will dominate the political discussion during this appointment will be immigration reform and gun control.”
“I support the positions that President Obama has taken on these issues, and you can be assured that I will keep my word and work on these issues as I have promised,” he added.
Gomez has since said that he does not agree with Obama on all of the issues, including Obama’s push for an assault weapons ban. He said the letter could have been worded better and that he was simply offering to serve his country.
The former Navy SEAL also faulted Sullivan’s decision to launch the ad.
“Why is he attacking me? Because he is losing. That’s what career politicians do when they are losing,” Gomez said in a statement. “When will Mr. Sullivan learn that mudslinging and petty politics isn’t going to solve our spending problem in Washington?”
In a press release, Sullivan defended the ad.
“I think it’s fair for the voters to compare what Gomez is saying today versus what he privately wrote to Deval Patrick in January, when he practically begged for the job,” Sullivan said.
State Rep. Daniel Winslow is also seeking the GOP nomination.
The primary is April 30. The election is June 2
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.