, Newburyport, MA

April 4, 2013

GOP Senate hopefuls spar over controversial ad

West Newbury's Mirra stands with candidate

By Andy Metzger

---- — BOSTON -- A Republican state representative seeking to climb the electoral rungs to the U.S. Senate, Dan Winslow announced the endorsement of five of his colleagues Wednesday morning and criticized one of his opponents for not condemning ads being run by the Conservative Campaign Committee.

“The first attack ads in this campaign were launched by this group that has endorsed Mike Sullivan against me. This is a group that has been preaching intolerance, you know, a hate group if you will about equality, gay people, calling them names,” Winslow said. “That’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in Massachusetts. I’ve called on Mike Sullivan to disavow this group.”

Sullivan, a former U.S. Attorney and state representative from Abington, through a spokesman denied any knowledge of CCC’s campaign and accused Winslow of divisive politics.

“Mike doesn’t control who does or doesn’t endorse him. His focus is entirely on his own campaign,” wrote Sullivan’s spokesman Paul Moore in response to Winslow’s demand. “Mike doesn’t have litmus tests - unlike Dan Winslow. In fact, Dan Winslow has done everything he can to incite open warfare between divergent groups in this primary battle. Dan Winslow went so far as to suggest that people who are pro-life shouldn’t be running for office, saying they deserve to lose. That was a contemptible statement and shows the very odd bounds of his open-mindedness. So it is rich for Dan Winslow, having made such intolerant statements, to suggest that anyone besides himself is promoting ‘hate.’”

The Hill reported that the CCC plans to raise $200,000 and run ads starting next week that target Sullivan’s two opponents, Winslow and Cohasset businessman Gabriel Gomez. NECN interviewed the chairman of the CCC, the Tea Party activist Lloyd Marcus, who told the news station, “I have gay family and friends who I love. I don’t hate anyone.”

“Unfortunately, this is what we’ve come to expect from career politicians and the people of Massachusetts are sick of it,” Gomez said in a statement distributed by his campaign. “Politicians like Mr. Sullivan wink and nod about out of state interest groups and then have them sling mud on their behalf. Rather than hide behind out of state interest groups, Mike Sullivan should either disavow the statements from this extreme group and demand that they take their attack ads elsewhere, or Sullivan should man up and deliver these attacks himself. This is why people don’t trust politicians; they lack the courage to be up front and honest.”

Winslow has declined to sign a pledge with the two Democrats running for U.S. Senate to discourage outside groups from running ads in the race.

Flanked by Reps. Steve Howitt (R-Seekonk) and Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury) in front of the State House, Winslow cheered the newest addition to the 29-member Republican caucus in the lower legislative chamber.

“This is a chance to break the monopoly in Massachusetts by having Republicans from all walks of life, all points of view work together for the common goal of solving problems and having reform and results,” Winslow said, referring to the election Tuesday night of Leah Cole as the next state representative from Peabody. “I hope to be able to bring that same record of problem-solving, reform and results to Washington if I’m lucky enough to earn the Republican nomination.”

In addition to Howitt and Mirra, Winslow received endorsements from Reps. Matt Beaton (R-Shrewsbury), Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) and Randy Hunt (R-East Sandwich).

“We have more coming,” the Norfolk Republican told reporters. Winslow said his campaign needs “written authorization” before counting someone as an endorser.