Supporters prep for Republican debate in Springfield - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Supporters prep for Republican debate in Springfield

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More than two hours before Thursday night's first question, campaign supporters were lining the streets of downtown, understanding that right now there is one issue above all else.

"Something like 28 percent of the voters are not familiar with any of these candidates," said Dan Allie, a Michael Sullivan supporter.

According to two different polls out this week, the former U.S. attorney is the Republican front-runner entering Thursday night's debate.

Sullivan is a Boston native who is no stranger to politics; however, he was the last of the three candidates to enter the race. His supporters said the public needs time to get informed about the candidates.

"I want them to have the chance to answer questions fully," said Allie. "Challenge other candidates and also be able to rebut them. That is where you see the medal of someone and where they are at."

Cohasset resident Gabriel Gomez is a newcomer to the political scene.

Running in his first ever campaign, the former U.S. Navy SEAL is now a private equity investor. His supporters believe Gomez brings a different attitude to the political process.

"He is an impressive candidate," said Aaron Davenport. "His military background, being a Navy SEAL. I really believe we need to bring a little bit of a mix to the party."

State Rep. Dan Winslow is the lone candidate with Western Massachusetts roots. The Northampton native currently represents the 9th Norfolk District on Beacon Hill, which is the seat that formerly belonged to Scott Brown.

Republican supporters said they will be paying close attention to what happens in Thursday night's debate.

"There are going to be some fireworks," said Davenport. "We have three very solid candidates. I think it is going to be very good, very entertaining. We will see a lot of interesting points of views."

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