July 19, 2018
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Republican who criticized Parkland students drops out of Maine House race

Michael Laughlin | AP
Michael Laughlin | AP
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez wipes away tears during a CNN town hall meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Former Maine State House candidate Leslie GIbson came under fire for calling Gonzales on Twitter a "skinhead lesbian" and another student a "bald-faced liar."
By Caitlin Troutman, Maine Public
Updated:

Republican Leslie Gibson has announced that he is dropping out of the race for Maine House District 57, representing Greene and Sabattus.

Gibson came under fire for his Twitter remarks about two students who survived the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

He wrote that one of the Parkland students was a “skinhead lesbian,” the other a “bald-faced liar.” Gibson later apologized to one of the students.

[Maine House candidate calls Parkland student activist ‘skinhead lesbian’]

Gibson said he made the decision after meeting with friends, family and colleagues, saying that his dropping out is “the best thing for everybody.” He also said that “I am not walking away with my head hung low. I am walking away with my head held high.”

Until his comments about the Parkland students gained national attention, Gibson was the only candidate who had declared for the seat, which is being vacated by term-limited Republican Rep. Stephen Wood, who is prevented from seeking re-election by Maine’s term limits law.

But this week, Democrats David Gilbert of Sabattus and Eryn Gilchrist of Greene, as well as Republican Thomas Martin, a former state senator who now lives in Greene, all entered the race. Independents have until June 1 to enter the race

Gilchrist and Martin both cited Gibson’s remarks as motivation for running. Gilbert reportedly said he rushed to take out papers because of Gibson, but might step aside, given that Gilchrist had filed.

On Friday, Gibson was still listed as an active candidate on the Maine Ethics Commission’s website but his name had been removed from the secretary of state’s list of active candidates.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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Correction: A previous version of this report listed the wrong town of residence for Thomas Martin.


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