Another day, another woman activist absolutely killing it. While many believed Republican candidate Leslie Gibson would be running unopposed during the Maine state House of Representatives race, it was a controversial comment that spurred one woman to take matters into her own hands. Who is Eryn Gilchrist? She's my latest girl crush, basically.
On March 13, Refinery29 reported that Leslie Gibson had made extremely disparaging comments towards 18-year old Parkland shooting survivor and student activist Emma González, referring to her as a "skinhead lesbian" on Twitter. Gibson is currently running for Maine's House of Representatives as a member of the Republican Party, and the Portland Herald Press reported on March 12 that the candidate was running unopposed.
However, since Gibson's comments surfaced, the playing field has evened. 28-year-old Bates College graduate Eryn Gilchrist filed her paperwork to run for state House of Representatives as a member of the Democratic party on March 15, the deadline for candidates to file in state. The election will be held on Nov. 6.
Gilchrist released a statement through The Maine Democratic Party explaining her reason for running for office as well as discussing her excitement for the opportunity.
The statement reads,
I never thought I would run for office, and I was perfectly content with just remaining a member of the community, but after reading Mr. Gibson’s comments I thought that the people of Greene and Sabattus deserved a representative who will respect people and try to work through their differences to make our lives better. That’s what I pledge to do if I am lucky enough to be elected, and I look forward to working hard over the next several months to earn the trust and support of people throughout my community.
Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon also released a statement expressing her support of Gilchrist's decision to run. "We could not be happier to have Eryn run," Gideon said in a statement. "She is a concerned member of her community who cares about the future of her neighbors — and, like many other Democrats across Maine, she's now stepping up to help them."
Since Gilchrist announced her candidacy, the Lewiston Democratic Committee has set up a page where people can donate to Gilchrist's campaign.
On Feb. 18 Emma González delivered a powerful speech in Fort Lauderdale, Florida demanding the government to make changes towards gun laws. She said,
Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call B.S. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call B.S. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call B.S.
Then, on Feb. 26 The Hill reported that González had surpassed the NRA in Twitter followers, with a following of over 1 million as opposed to the NRA's 630,000. In a now-deleted tweet, Gibson replied, "There is nothing about that skin head lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you're a frothing at the mouth moonbat."
In another tweet Gibson went on to claim that González wasn't a real survivor because "she was in a completely different part of the school."
Gibson finally apologized for his previous remarks through a (you guess it) tweet on March 12, immediately following the backlash.
I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you. It was wrong and unacceptable. You are doing work that is important to you. I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you.
Gibson has since deleted his Twitter account. However, the Republican candidate did speak to Press Herald on March 12 in an attempt to explain his inappropriate outburst.
"I am very passionate about protecting our constitutional rights from those who seek their elimination," Gibson told the Press Herald. "It was not appropriate to single out the Parkland students, but I stand firm in my defense of our constitutional rights."
Speaking of constitutional rights...
Hey, it's something everyone should get behind.