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.”
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.”
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.