MassGOP Chairman To Charlie Baker: Change Your Party Affiliation

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Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Jim Lyons is not happy with his party’s incumbent governor Charlie Baker — who is also not happy with Lyons.

Baker told a reporter on Friday that Lyons should resign as Massachusetts Republican Party chairman — and Lyons wants Baker out of the party.

The latest turn in the frosty relationship between the party chairman and the governor stems from Lyons’s support for Boston city council candidate Donnie Palmer, ignoring racially insensitive social media posts that the candidate made about Boston mayoral candidate Michelle Wu; Palmer supports Annissa Essaibi George in the mayoral race.

A report said that the posts were brought to Lyons’s attention by Republican state committeewoman Jaclyn Corriveau (R-Peabody), who is Asian-American, and Lyons continued to support Palmer.

In a press release from the MassGOP, Lyons dismissed the idea that he has any bias against Asian-Americans, citing his strong opposition to a bill known as An Act Requiring State Agencies To Collect Asian American Aggregate Data (H.3361) as a member of the legislature in 2017 and 2018.

“Gov. Baker was nowhere to be found when the Democrats lobbied for that disturbing 2018 proposal,” Lyons said. “Gov. Baker was too busy supporting the impeachment of the greatest American president in my lifetime in President Donald J. Trump, and is now calling on me to resign all while repeatedly abandoning the principles of the Republican Party.”

“Sorry Charlie, unlike you, I will continue to fight for this great country and will continue to refuse to submit to the agenda of the radical left,” he continued.

“Perhaps it is time for Gov. Baker to reconsider his party affiliation,” he concluded.

The bill Lyons opposed said the following:


Notwithstanding any General Law or Special Law to the contrary, all state agencies, quasi-state agencies, entities created by state statute and sub-divisions of state agencies shall identify Asian American and Pacific Islanders as defined by the United States Census Bureau in all data collected as part any and all types of data collection, reporting or verification; provided further that, the five largest Asian American and Pacific Islander ethnic groups residing in the Commonwealth shall have individually reported data as part of the total Asian American Pacific Islander reporting.


One of Palmer’s posts said of Wu, who is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants: “ARE WE ABOUT TO ELECT A CHINESE CITIZEN TO CONTROL THE CITY OF BOSTON?” It included a picture of Wu alongside Chinese dictator Xi Jinping.

The report said that Lyons gave the state committeewoman Palmer’s telephone number so that they could talk things out.

Baker was informed of Lyons’s support for Palmer by The Dorchester Reporter on Friday and made clear he doesn’t want Lyons leading the Massachusetts Republican Party.

“First of all, I’ve expressed previously my concerns about the level of vitriol and racism that’s come out of a number of members of the committee,” Baker told the paper. “I’m not familiar with this particular incident but unfortunately, I’m dismayed, but on some level I’m not surprised. It’s a continuation of a practice that has no place in life, much less in public life.

“And I said previously, that I thought based on some of the previous incidents that had taken place, especially with respect to the gay and lesbian community, that I thought Jim Lyons should step down,” he added. “I continue to believe that.”

This past spring a movement to dump Lyons developed after he refused to call for the resignation of a party state committee member who criticized a GOP candidate for Congress for adopting children with his same-sex partner. It fizzled.

Although they’re ideologically different, Lyons and Baker were once political allies. 

Lyons supported Baker’s re-election bid in 2018 over his more conservative primary challenger Springfield pastor Scott Lively; Baker worked to help get Lyons re-elected in 2016 and supported him in 2018 when he lost his re-election bid. They both received criticism for supporting one another.

Critics of Baker say the governor wants Lyons out not so much over philosophical differences but because he is frustrated that he no longer controls the Massachusetts Republican Party’s fund-raising mechanism.


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