DUXBURY — Although surrounded by dozens of potential supporters, Gabriel Gomez kept to himself on a brisk Saturday morning last month as he went through a series of stretches.
Wearing a white campaign shirt emblazoned with his name in bold blue letters, black running shorts, dark baseball cap, and sunglasses, the 47-year-old Republican Senate hopeful slipped in earbud headphones and then, along with the others running the Lieutenant Timothy Steele Memorial 5k, took off as the starter’s gun fired.
While some would argue that Gomez, a political newcomer battling long odds to fill John Kerry’s US Senate seat, should spend each campaign moment talking with voters and donors, Gomez spoke to no one from the start of the race, just after 11 a.m., until his return to the finish line’s yellow caution tape exactly 21:52 later.
But the former US Navy SEAL is using runs like this one — and the sweaty hugs, high fives, and out-of-breath conversations that follow — as a rather unorthodox way to bond with the electorate, especially in suburbs rich with independent and right-leaning voters.
The GOP candidate has competed in at least two races each weekend of the general election campaign, logging well over 100 miles since announcing his candidacy in February. What began as a way for the candidate to stay in shape in a grueling campaign has become the most recurring part of Gomez’s public schedule.
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