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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.