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Republican who called Florida shooting survivor a 'skinhead lesbian' quits Maine race

Republican who called Fla. shooting survivor a 'skinhead lesbian' quits Maine race
Credit: Rhona Wise, AFP/Getty Images
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez reacts during her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on February 17, 2018.

A Republican who tweeted insults at two survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has withdrawn his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives.

Leslie Gibson told the Bangor Daily News on Friday he decided to quit the race for House District 57 after meeting with friends, family and colleagues. He told the Sun Journal, "it's the best thing for everybody."

Gibson drew criticism after he called Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez "a skinhead lesbian" and her classmate David Hogg "a bald-faced liar" in tweets earlier this month, reports the Press Herald.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz admitted to shooting and killing 17 people at the school on Valentine's Day. Following the shooting, Gonzalez, Hogg and other Marjory Stoneman Douglas students have criticized the National Rifle Association and called on lawmakers to find ways to stop school shootings.

The Press Herald reports Gibson lobbed his criticism at Hogg after the student said NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch controls members of Congress. 

"Dana Loesch 'owns' Congressman?" he asked. "Completely absurd."

Referring to Gonzalez, he said, "There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you're frothing at the mouth moonbat." He later issued an apology, the Press Herald said.

Gibson, the Daily News reports, had been the lone candidate in the race until his comments. Hogg, in a tweet, urged someone to run against Gibson, pleading on March 14, "I don't care what party JUST DO IT."

At least two Democrats and one Republican, the Daily News reports, have since entered the race. 

“I am not walking away with my head hung low," he said. "I am walking away with my head held high.” 

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeanRossman