Local businessman Gabriel Gomez has filed to run in the Massachusetts special election, an official working on his campaign confirmed to The Hill, adding a contender to the small slate of candidates pursuing the Republican nomination.
He has brought on three former Mitt Romney staffers. Bradley Crate, who previously worked as former Sen. Scott Brown's (R) campaign treasurer and as CFO of Romney's 2012 presidential bid, will serve as Gomez's treasurer, and Romney's former communications director Gail Gitcho and online rapid response director Lenny Alcivar have also joined Gomez's team.
Gomez did not respond to a request for comment.
But Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh pointed to Gomez's Romney connections as reason Massachusetts voters won't back him in the special election.
"Last week one big fan of Republican Mitt Romney — Republican Dan
Winslow — said he was in the race and now today we see that Republican
Gabriel Gomez, fresh off his trip to see Washington insiders with
Republican operative Ron Kaufman, has hired key Romney staffers to run
his campaign. Kaufman recently said that Massachusetts Republicans
needed to stop President Obama's plans for creating jobs and moving our
country forward," he said in a statement.
"Massachusetts voters, who overwhelmingly voted last fall to support the President's ides and agenda, won't be swayed by Gomez's attempt at running the Romney Campaign 2.0," Walsh added.
Brown's decision not to seek the Republican nomination sent state Republicans scrambling to find a suitable candidate for what will be a tough election.
A number of second-tier candidates, including former Gov. Bill Weld and former House contender Richard Tisei, dropped out soon after Brown made his announcement, leaving Republicans with a bench of relatively unknown state lawmakers, as well as Gomez.
Gomez has met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee concerning his bid, and Massachusetts Republicans tout his business experience and outsider status, as well as his ability to self-fund, as advantages in a race. He now has until Feb. 27 to compile the 10,000 signatures needed to get on the primary ballot.
GabrielGomez2013.com has also been registered, though the site is not yet up and running.
Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R) is also expected to announce on Monday whether he plans to launch a campaign for Senate.
Democrats have two candidates, Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch, lined up for the April 30 primary.
--This piece has been updated at 5:21 p.m. to reflect Gomez's staff and a statement from the Massachusetts Republican Party.