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GOP candidate who called teen 'skinhead lesbian' quits race

Republican Maine House candidate Leslie Gibson who called Florida high school shooting survivor “skinhead lesbian” quits race.
Image: Parkland STudent Emma Gonzalez
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse on Feb. 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Rhona Wise / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: Associated Press

The Maine Republican who called one Florida school shooting survivor a “skinhead lesbian” and another a “bald-faced liar” is quitting the race for a seat in the state's House of Representatives.

Leslie Gibson was widely criticized last week for insulting two survivors of last month’s shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people. The Portland Press Herald reports Gibson said Friday that he’s walking away with his “head held high.”

One of the teenage students Gibson attacked online was Emma Gonzalez; he said there was “nothing about this skinhead lesbian” that impressed him. Gonzalez is openly bisexual. The other student Gibson attacked was David Hogg, and he and Gonzalez have become leaders in the effort to combat gun violence.

Gibson had been running unopposed in the 57th District contest until his comments became public. Now Republican Thomas Martin Jr. and Democrat Eryn Gilchrist are running. Gilchrist says she was “horrified” at the idea of Gibson representing her.

“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,” Gilchrist said in a statement.

Gonzalez took to Twitter to thank Gilchrist after she announced her candidacy, Gonzalez's first and only comment on the matter. "All I can say is thank you," Gonzalez said.

Hogg, however, had been more vocal, tweeting out a call to his social media following for someone in Maine, Democrat or Republican, to oppose Gibson.

Gibson did issue an apology to Gonzalez, according to Maine's Sun Journal.