A Republican running for the Maine state legislature is dropping out of the race following widespread criticism for calling one of the survivors of last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school a “skinhead lesbian.”
Gibson said on Friday,
I am not walking away with my head hung low. I am walking away with my head held high. It’s the best thing for everybody.
Exactly why he’s holding his head high is anyone’s guess. As we reported recently, Gibson, a lifetime NRA member, insulting two of the survivors of the Parkland school shooting on Twitter. He first attacked Emma González, who is openly bisexual, writing:
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.
He also called David Hogg, another survivor of the shooting, a “bald-faced liar.”
While Gibson has since deleted the tweets and apologized for their content, Hogg took the opportunity to call on his more than 450,000 Twitter followers to find someone to enter the race and oppose Gibson:
Hey freinds in Maine! Who wants to run against this hate loving politician he's is running UNOPPOSED RUN AGAINST HIM I don't care what party JUST DO IT. https://t.co/vRR7p1ZHKf
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 14, 2018
Someone heard Hogg’s plea: 28-year-old Eryn Gilchrist filed paperwork to run against Gibson the very next day.
Gilchrist told the Sun-Journal that she had never intended to run for office, but she was so “horrified and embarrassed” by the prospect of Gibson representing her that she decided to enter the race:
I never thought I would run for office, and I was perfectly content with just remaining a member of the community, but after reading Mr. Gibson’s comments I thought that the people of Greene and Sabattus deserved a representative who will respect people and try to work through their differences to make our lives better. That’s what I pledge to do if I am lucky enough to be elected, and I look forward to working hard over the next several months to earn the trust and support of people throughout my community.
Gibson said he made the decision to drop out of the race after talking with his family, praying, and discussing it with friends and colleagues, including Thomas Martin Jr., another Republican contender who entered the race for the same district on Thursday.
Martin said on Thursday he felt compelled to run after he read Gibson’s strident comments about the two Florida students. He’s a former state senator, and said it is important to have a candidate who represents real Republican values.
“After those recent unfortunate comments, I couldn’t sit back,” Martin said, noting that people have to realize “that our words and actions have consequences.”
Gibson said he hopes his departure from the race will bring things back to normal. He said he’s going to try to “get some peace and quiet in our lives” after the turmoil of recent days.