It seems Augusta will not be a destination for Republican Leslie Gibson in 2019, unless he visits as a tourist. The GOP candidate for Maine's 57th House district announced Friday he would not seek election in November.
The Republican had originally been running unopposed, making a trip to Augusta in January 2019 a sure thing for Gibson. He reportedly made the decision to drop out of the race after discussions with family, praying and discussing it with friends and colleagues.
“It’s the best thing for everybody,” Gibson said.
I am not walking away with my head hung low. I am walking away with my head held high.”
Gibson came to international prominence over a series of Tweets where he disparaged teenage survivors turned activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A mass shooting at the school left 17 people dead.
Gibson specifically targeted Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg. Both teens are seniors at the Parkland school.
“There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat,” Gibson wrote on Twitter. He also claimed calling “(students) in a completely different part of the school” survivors while a gunman murdered their classmates, teacher, and coaches "disingenuous".
Gibson referred to Hogg, after an appearance criticizing National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch, as “a bald-faced liar.” After Gibson's Tweets gained national attention, Hogg had a comment of his own for Twitter.
Two candidates, a Democrat and a Republican, answered the call to action. Both Democrat Eryn Gilchrist, a rookie to state politics, and GOP candidate Thomas Martin Jr., a former state senator, cited Gibsons' actions as the reason they decided to enter the Maine House race.
The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas school and students around the nation organizing via social media show the power of this tool. But Twitter and Facebook are tools that can help or hurt your cause.
While people are often shocked by the Tweets of some prominent politicians, they seem to suffer few consequences. Emboldened by their example, others hoping to gain political office or fame allow their thoughts onto social media to be equally unfiltered.
Many, like Leslie Gibson, discover too late their online words can have real world consequences. Not all publicity or fame is good for your career, political or otherwise, especially online.