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McConnell offers to triple donations to Gomez campaign

Warren in turn seeks funding boost for Markey

National Republicans who have kept their distance from the Massachusetts US Senate special election suddenly jumped in on Friday, with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell offering to triple donations sent to GOP nominee Gabriel E. Gomez.

McConnell appealed to Massachusetts donors in an e-mail sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, saying he would match donations by three times, up to $32,000.

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“The outcome of Massachusetts Senate Special Election will determine the tone and tenor of American politics going into the 2014 midterm elections,” McConnell wrote. “We have the opportunity to send a clear message to Senator Harry Reid that Washington, D.C., is broken and that the status quo is not good enough. Help us send an outsider to Washington by contributing now!”

Gomez’s campaign welcomed the support noncommittally: “We appreciate any support that helps get Gabriel Gomez’s message of reforming Washington to the people of Massachusetts,” said campaign spokesman Will Ritter.

Ritter declined to say whether Gomez would support McConnell for majority leader.

“Gabriel Gomez is not beholden to any party and will vote for whoever will do the best job representing the people in the US Senate,” he said.

Democrats, locally and nationally, pounced on the news, suggesting that it showed Gomez aligning with conservative forces in the Senate.

“I think it’s an indication that a vote for Gabriel Gomez is a vote for a GOP Senate and a radical right-wing agenda,” said Andrew Zucker, spokesman for the Democratic nominee for Senate, Edward J. Markey.

By Friday night, US Senator Elizabeth Warren was sending out McConnell’s fund-raising pitch, too, in an effort to turn it to Democrats’ advantage. She sent out an e-mail to Democratic supporters asking them to donate to Markey’s campaign by midnight to prevent Gomez from joining “right-wing Republicans and Tea Party radicals” in halting the president’s agenda.

“We can’t let Gabriel Gomez put Mitch McConnell one vote closer to a Republican majority in the United States Senate,” she wrote. “If Mitch McConnell can raise $32,000 for Gabriel Gomez, why don’t we match it for our friend Ed Markey?”

Ritter said Markey started the race with a fund-raising advantage and is picking up advertising support from interest groups including one funded by a California billionaire protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee has also sent staff to Massachusetts to support Gomez’s campaign, Ritter said.

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieebbert.
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