An unopposed Republican candidate attacked Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez as a "skinhead lesbian." Now he's got a Democratic challenger who's "horrified and embarrassed" by his bigoted attack.
A woman in Maine has decided to jump into politics and run for local office after a Republican candidate made a homophobic attack against one of the survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Eryn Gilchrist, a Democrat, is now running in Maine's 57th District against Leslie Gibson, who attacked Parkland teen Emma Gonzalez on Twitter, saying, "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 even argued on Twitter that Gonzalez, who has become a nationally known advocate for gun violence prevention, should not be considered a survivor of the shooting because she was "in a completely different part of the school."
In her speech after the mass shooting that took the lives of her classmates, Gonzalez famously said, "To every politician who has taken donations from the NRA: Shame on you!"
Gilchrist said she was "horrified and embarrassed" after learning of Gibson's comments.
David Hogg, one of Gonzalez's fellow students, slammed Gibson in a tweet: "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."
Even a fellow Republican, Maine state Sen. Amy Volk, criticized Gibson and said he shouldn't be running for office. After his comments were exposed and condemned, Gibson apologized. And he deleted his Twitter account.
After Gilchrist filed her papers, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, also a Democrat, released a statement welcoming Gilchrist to the race: "She is a concerned member of her community who cares about the future of her neighbors – and, like many other Democrats across Maine, she’s now stepping up to help them."
Gibson's smears echo those of the NRA and other conservatives, who have attacked the teens as their message has resonated with millions of ordinary Americans.
But the vile culture embraced by many Republicans — in which lashing out at a teenage advocate in hateful, bigoted language has become the norm — is stimulating a response: Ordinary Americans are standing up to figures like Gibson and putting themselves and their values on the front line.
The NRA and its ideological allies are no longer being allowed to dominate the national conversation. That is true at the highest levels and now in statehouses from coast to coast.