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This Politician Was Running Unopposed—Until He Insulted a Parkland Shooting Survivor

March 16, 2018, 9:41 AM UTC

Leslie Gibson, a Republican who was running unopposed for the Maine House of Representatives, is now facing a competitive battle for his seat.

The candidate was sailing to victory until some choice words changed the race.

Gibson, a lifetime NRA member, took to Twitter recently, insulting two of the survivors of the Parkland school shooting. About Emma González, who is openly bisexual, he wrote, “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 (sic),” Gibson wrote on Wednesday.

Someone listened: 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 would really have been happy to partake in representative democracy by voting,” she said.

If historical precedent is any indication, Gilchrist might have a chance in beating Gibson. Last November, Republican incumbent Atlantic City (N.J.) freeholder John Carman was defeated by first-time candidate Ashley Bennett, who chose to enter the race after Carman posted a meme mocking the Women’s March that January.

Update: Gibson dropped out of the race Friday, after coming under fire for his disparaging remarks.