A Republican Candidate Has Dropped Out After Insulting A Parkland Survivor As A "Skinhead Lesbian"
Now, a 28-year-old woman who was “horrified and embarrassed” by the candidate is running to fill the seat in her first-ever campaign.
A Republican candidate for Maine's House of Representatives dropped out of the race on Friday after facing a storm of backlash for mocking Parkland survivor and activist Emma González as a "skinhead lesbian."
Leslie Gibson had previously been the only declared candidate in the race.
“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 had tweeted, according to the Press Herald.
In another tweet, Gibson reportedly derided claims that González is a survivor of the shooting because she “was in a completely different part of the school” when the shooter opened fire and killed 17 of her classmates.
And, in yet another tweet, Gibson called David Hogg, another Parkland survivor and activist, “a bald faced liar" for his criticism of NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.
Gibson's attacks on the students were criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Bruce Bickford, a Republican in the Maine House of Representatives, posted on Facebook that "this type of behavior is not an example of the Republican Party. I cannot and will not support this person! So Sad!!"
Amy Volk, a Republican state senator in Maine, tweeted that Gibson had previously attacked her on social media and that he should not run for office.
"Respect and kindness are so important, whether we are working with each other in the #MaineLegislature, interacting with constituents or discussing national issues," Volk said.
In a statement to the Press Herald, Phil Bartlett, the chair of the Maine Democratic Party, called on Republican leadership to condemn Gibson.
“Regardless of where someone falls along the political spectrum, we should all be able to agree that Les Gibson’s comments are reprehensible and deserving of our denunciation," Bartlett said.
Gibson subsequently apologized to González in a tweet on Monday.
“Emma, my name is Les Gibson from Maine," he wrote. "I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you. It was wrong and unacceptable.”
González did not respond.
On Wednesday, Hogg tweeted and asked literally anyone to run against the unopposed candidate.
And two people took actually Hogg up on the suggestion.
The following day, Republican Thomas Martin Jr. and Democrat Eryn Gilchrist filed the paperwork to run for the seat.
Martin, a former state senator, told the Press Herald he decided to run because "after those recent unfortunate comments, I couldn’t sit back."
Gilchrist, a 28-year-old who works for a medical device company, said she'd never considered running for office, but was so “horrified and embarrassed” at the idea that Gibson might become her representative that she decided to enter the race.
“I would really have been happy to partake in representative democracy by voting,” Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist and Martin could not immediately be reached for comment.
González tweeted about Gilchrist's decision to run, saying that "all I can say is Thank You."
On Friday, Gibson dropped out of the race, saying, "It’s the best thing for everybody."
“I am not walking away with my head hung low," he told the Press Herald. "I am walking away with my head held high.”
He has since deleted his personal Twitter account and set his campaign's Twitter to private.
BuzzFeed News was unable to reach Gibson for comment.
After Gibson's announcement, González and Sarah Chadwick, another activist and Parkland student, pulled no punches.
"It's what he deserves," she tweeted.