Mass. Republican Senate hopefuls face off in first debate

(afagen/flickr)
(afagen/flickr)

The three Republican contenders for Massachusetts open U.S. Senate seat largely agreed on policy issues in their first debate on Tuesday, including opposing any ban on the sale of assault rifles.

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, state Representative Daniel Winslow and private equity executive and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez largely agreed on the policy questions in their first match-up before the April 30 primary.

All three said they opposed any ban on assault rifles, the sort of weapon used in the December massacre at a Connecticut primary school.


“The fact of the matter is that people like to think that bans are effective. They are completely ineffective. I’ve seen it form my experience,” said Sullivan, who a recent University of Massachusetts Lowell-Boston Herald poll showed as leading the Republican field. “Reducing gun violence is not about taking guns out of the hands of citizens … it’s about getting them out of the hands of problem persons.”

The trio face an uphill battle in liberal-leaning Massachusetts, where polls show Democrats with a strong lead ahead of the June 25 special election for the seat, which became available when John Kerry was named secretary of state.

Gomez, a political newcomer, said that senators should be limited to two six-year terms in office.

“The president is term-limited, Congress should be term-limited, senators should be term-limited,” Gomez said in the forum at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, about 30 miles south of Boston.

Sullivan and Winslow agreed with that idea.

All three said they would not evaluate potential nominees to the Supreme Court based on the nominee’s opinion of abortion rights.

“Judges shouldn’t have agendas other than to follow the Constitution, follow the law,” said Winslow, who served as an adviser to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on judicial appointments.

In the state’s last special Senate election three years ago, Republican Scott Brown stunned the liberal establishment by winning the seat that liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy held for almost a half-century.

But in this match up, all three Republicans trail U.S. Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat, who also holds a lead over fellow Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch, according to last week’s UMass-Herald poll.

Pollsters caution that all five candidates had relatively low name recognition among likely voters, meaning that the lead could easily change.

This time, a Republican victory could help the party’s effort to retake a majority in the Senate, where it holds 45 seats. Democrats have 53 seats, and there are two independents.

In January, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick named his former chief of staff, William Cowan, as interim senator. Cowan is not running for the seat.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.