On Wednesday, one of two Florida teenagers criticized by Sabattus, Maine, politician Leslie Gibson asked for someone to make sure the Republican faces an opponent in this year’s Maine House race.
In a series of Tweets, Gibson, then the only declared candidate in House District 57, referred to two teenagers as a “skinhead lesbian” and a “bald faced liar.” Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, both seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survived the shooting at their school that killed 17 people.
Gibson made separate statements on his Twitter account disparaging the students being described as survivors since "they were in another part of the school" during the shooting. He has a history of using social media to retweet anti-immigrant and pro-gun comments.
Gibson said in a statement on Facebook that he doesn’t trust “leftist politicians or the liberal media when they claim that no one wants to take your guns away. That’s exactly what they want to do. I don’t care what they say.” The GOP candidate vowed after he’s elected, he will “lead the charge in the protection and preservation of our constitutional rights and our Maine traditions against these attacks.”
After his latest Tweets, Gibson made his personal and campaign accounts private.
Following Gibson's flurry of disparaging comments, one of his targets, David Hogg Tweeted:
Who wants to run against this hate-loving politician? I don’t care what party. JUST DO IT.”
Hey freinds in Maine! Who wants to run against this hate loving politician he's is running UNOPPOSED RUN AGAINST HI… https://t.co/OnHW2yq7fH— David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954 (@David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954) 1521067627.0
Democrat Eryn Gilchrist of Greene is doing just that. She filed the required paperwork Thursday to run for the previously uncontested 57th District seat.
Gilchrist said she never anticipated running for office but felt so “horrified and embarrassed” at the thought of Gibson representing her in any capacity that she had to run.
“I would really have been happy to partake in representative democracy by voting,” Gilchrist said. But added she looks forward “to working hard over the next several months to earn the trust and support of people throughout my community.”
We are excited to have Eryn enter this race! We know that she will be a champion for the people of Sabattus and Gre… https://t.co/Yd7xVMfccE— Maine Democrats (@Maine Democrats) 1521128673.0
Democrat Eryn Gilchrist of Greene Maine filed the required paperwork to run in Maine's 57th District race against L… https://t.co/dmifSqGEqM— DeWayne Fulton ⚡️ We must save ourselves. RESIST! (@DeWayne Fulton ⚡️ We must save ourselves. RESIST!) 1521139175.0
Lovely people in Maine...you know what to do! #ErynGilchrist https://t.co/JZg0xLcQhN— Cornelia (@Cornelia) 1521138746.0
We need more of this! "... after reading Mr. Gibson’s comments I thought that the people of Greene and Sabattus de… https://t.co/I8XIzu41CV— Elissa Torres (@Elissa Torres) 1521145368.0
@LeslieEGibson2 WAS running unopposed for the @GOP in the 57th House District in Maine. He insulted the Parkland H… https://t.co/71ltpUP0Ux— Cornelia (@Cornelia) 1521136955.0
Retweet after me — let’s make #ErynGilchrist trend & help her campaign against a bigoted, homophobic Republican get… https://t.co/tsC2dkkUmI— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@Jon Cooper 🇺🇸) 1521138401.0
Happy to see that an alternative to #LeslieGibson stepped into the race for #MaineRepresentative. @congressdotgov d… https://t.co/WMeGiIQcjC— Lisa Swartz 👱🏻♀️🍷 #GirlsGoneWine (@Lisa Swartz 👱🏻♀️🍷 #GirlsGoneWine) 1521131295.0
@TheDemCoalition @GOP @Emma4Change Go #ErynGilchrist! Thank you for stepping up to challenge #LeslieGibson! Maine… https://t.co/ySXmak0cVn— Dana Fairbanks, M.D. #CensoredBernieSupporter 🌹 (@Dana Fairbanks, M.D. #CensoredBernieSupporter 🌹) 1521130964.0
What a hero! Her name is Eryn Gilchrist. Come on Maine, vote for Eryn! 'Horrified' Democrat decides to take on Gib… https://t.co/GCWSZJYW9O— Kara (@Kara) 1521132684.0
The Maine Republican Party has yet to comment on Gibson's comments. The Maine Democratic Party denounced him, however, and questioned Republicans for their silence.
Les Gibson's comments were disgusting and do not represent Maine values. Regardless of political perspective, we ho… https://t.co/m5Rp6ZeB4n— Maine Democrats (@Maine Democrats) 1520952645.0
Eryn Gilchrist is stepping up to challenge Les Gibson, who called a Parkland survivor a "skinhead lesbian," because… https://t.co/QadKNb7eKR— Maine Democrats (@Maine Democrats) 1521141226.0