A Republican running for the Maine state legislature has dropped out of the race in the wake backlash over comments he made about a survivor of last month’s Parkland high school shooting.
Leslie Gibson announced on Friday that he was ending his campaign for the Maine House of Representatives, according to the Portland Press Herald.
“I am not walking away with my head hung low. I am walking away with my head held high,” Gibson said, according to the Press Herald.
Gibson came under fire for comments he directed at 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez, one of the most prominent student activists to emerge after a gunman killed 17 people at her high school.
Hey freinds 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. https://t.co/vRR7p1ZHKf
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 14, 2018
“There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat,” Gibson tweeted, referring to Gonzalez, who has identified herself as bisexual.
Gibson said in another tweet that calling her a “survivor” is disingenuous because she “was in a completely different part of the school” when students were killed.
Gibson apologized in a later tweet, saying, “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.”
He also slammed Parkland student and pro-gun control activist David Hogg, calling him “a bald faced liar.”
Gibson initially had no opponents in the Maine state House election until Democrat Eryn Gilchrist entered the race in response to his comments. Hogg had called for candidates to oppose Gibson.
According to The Sun Journal, Gilchrist said she was running because she was “horrified and embarrassed” by the thought of Gibson winning the race.
Featured image: The Daily Mail/screen grab