COHASSET, Mass. For someone trying to make a big decision, Gabriel Gomez appears relaxed. The former U.S. Senate candidate is trying to decide whether to stay in public life or return to the private sector.
“My passion is to serve, so I’m probably leaning more toward the public sector than the private sector,” Gomez said in the kitchen of his home that sits just off the town common in Cohasset, Mass.
The Republican lost to Sen. Ed Markey in a special election to fill the seat of Secretary of State John Kerry. Since then, he says he’s been talking to for-profit and nonprofit companies about helping them with strategies, but he says he won’t take a private-sector job only to start running for public office soon after.
But which office?
“One thing I learned from the campaign is you just got to be yourself. You just got to tell people exactly what you feel.”
Gomez says he hasn’t yet ruled out running for governor or lieutenant governor. He’s met with former Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker, but says Baker has not asked him to run alongside him in 2014.
“My understanding is he’s going to run for governor [in 2014,] which is great because he’d be a great governor,” Gomez said. “He has not asked me to be his candidate, his partner on that.”
Gomez is also thinking about state treasurer.
“My background fits very well with the state treasurer position. You’re dealing with the lottery, you’re dealing with pensions, you’re dealing with the school system,” Gomez said. “I think a person with a business background is best suited for the treasurer role among all the other people that could be considered.”
But it’s clear from the issues Gomez wants to talk about — immigration reform, background checks on gun purchases, Trayvon Martin and student loans — that he is most interested in national issues.
When asked if he’d consider running against Rep. Stephen Lynch next year, Gomez said yes, but added that he has not thought much about it. He is, however, thinking about another bid against Sen. Markey. Gomez says he lost fair and square in the June special election, but as he looks back on their last race, he can see how he would run a better one next time.
“I would have taken back the ‘pond scum’ comment [about Markey,]” Gomez said in reference to a comment he made in an interview with an NPR reporter. “It just wasn’t me. It was one of the times in the campaign when I let my emotions get the better of me.”
Gomez says he also should have made it clear that he opposed the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers to opt out of providing birth control coverage on moral grounds, and the Stupak amendment, which would have forbidden using federal funds to cover abortions.
“My position got muddled significantly during the campaign and I should have just answered the questions that came out regarding the amendment, whether it was the Blunt amendment or the Stupak amendment, and said that I would not have voted for either one of those amendments,” Gomez said. “I think I got a little too concerned about what they were going to do depending on what I was going to say regarding those, and I should have just been up front.
“One thing I learned from the campaign is you just got to be yourself,” Gomez added. “You just got to tell people exactly what you feel.”
Gomez says he should also have been clearer about his opposition to cutting Social Security or Medicare for anyone close to retirement. He laments allowing Democrats to define his positions with a massive ad campaign before he could define himself.
Gomez says he was not able to raise money quickly enough to match Markey. The next campaign, he says, would allow him to do that.
“Obviously it would be a longer campaign, and we would be addressing the issues that we just talked about, to be more clear on those issues, and also to meet more people,” Gomez said.
As Gomez weighs his options, he is meeting with a lot of people — from fellow Republican candidates to union leaders. He says he’ll make his decision sooner rather than later, but he doesn’t want to rush; he says he wants to make sure that whatever he does next, it’s where his passion lies.