Her Representative Insulted 2 Parkland Survivors. Now She's Running For His Seat.

"All I can say is Thank You."

Eryn Gilchrist never thought she'd be in politics. The 28-year-old native of Connecticut was working for a medical device company based on Bowdoin, Maine, and was happy to limit her political involvement to voting. However, after her future state representative made some controversial comments about the Parkland teens, Gilchrist found herself forced to re-evaluate her position and adding her name to the ballot in the upcoming election. 

Gilchrist's political aspirations started last week when the Republican candidate for Maine's 57th District, who at the time was running unopposed, made comments about Emma González and David Hogg, two of the survivors of the Parkland shooting who have become outspoken advocates for gun control since the shooting. In a now-deleted tweet, Leslie Gibson, who has also since dropped out of the race, referred to González as a "skinhead lesbian" and denounced Hogg as a "bald-faced liar."

Soon after, Gibson issued an apology, but the comments had already prompted a campaign on social media to find a challenger for Gibson in the upcoming election, who at the time, was running unopposed. 

"Hey friends in Maine! Who wants to run against this hate loving politician he's is running UNOPPOSED RUN AGAINST HIM I don't care what party JUST DO IT," Hogg tweeted Thursday. 

Gilchrist, told the Sun Journal that she never thought she'd be running for office, but felt so "horrified and embarrassed" that Gibson would be representing her that she decided to run against him. Gilchrist, running as a Democrat, along with Republican former state senator Thomas Martin Jr., both filed the necessary paperwork on the date of the final deadline to enter the election.

"I would really have been happy to partake in representative democracy by voting," she said.

Gilchrist's last-minute campaign has since caught the eye of many on social media, including the Democratic Party in Maine and some of the Parkland teens themselves. 

"We could not be happier to have Eryn run," House Speaker Sara 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."

Cover images viaAntonSokolov and Maine Democratic Party.


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