Emerging Massachusetts GOP Slate Hoping To Rebound From Losses

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/03/04/emerging-massachusetts-gop-slate-hoping-to-rebound-from-losses/

By Matt Murphy
State House News Service

Massachusetts he Republicans are at risk for the first time since 2013 of not controlling a single statewide elected office next year, but the beleaguered party this week took major steps toward fielding a full slate of candidates for the 2022 cycle to give the party a competitive chance.

Anthony Amore, the director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the GOP nominee for secretary of state in 2018, became the newest Republican to enter the fray on Thursday when he announced that he would seek the open auditor’s office.

The Winchester Republican’s decision to run again after losing to Secretary of State William Galvin four years ago followed announcements earlier in the week that conservative Bourne attorney Jay McMahon would take a second stab at running for attorney general and former state representative Kate Campanale (R-Leicester) launched her campaign for lieutenant governor in partnership with GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Doughty.

“My entire career has been focused on investigations, audits, and inspections of private and public organizations that suffered from broken systems,” Amore said in a statement.

While Democratic voters are looking at competitive primaries for every statewide office on the ballot except treasurer, Republicans so far only have competition for the gubernatorial nomination. Treasurer Deb Goldberg, a Democrat seeking reelection to a third term, still has not drawn a Republican challenger.

“I’m glad we have someone stepping up. It’s going to be a good year for Republicans,” MassGOP strategist Wendy Wakeman told State House News Service this week after Campanale got into the lieutenant governor’s race.

MassGOP Chairman Jim Lyons said the party has been running candidate recruitment sessions for down ballot races in January and February and he feels “an awful lot of energy.”

“Now that we’re seeing the statewide slate fill out we’re obviously very happy to see that. There’s a lot of energy and a lot of parents out there concerned about their schools and their kids, concerned about public safety,” Lyons said.

“I think we’ll probably have the slate full. I know there are conversations going on,” Lyons said about the race for treasurer.

Wakeman is helping the party put together its May convention in Springfield, which could be a showcase for the divisions within the MassGOP. While some candidates like gubernatorial hopeful Geoff Diehl and McMahon have fully embraced the conservative wing of the party and Trumpism, others like Doughty and Amore could hold appeal for the more moderate factions who have been loyal to Governor Charlie Baker.

Baker’s decision not to seek a third term has left the MassGOP without a major figure to galvanize voters in 2022, but many of those who are running are not completely unfamiliar to the electorate.

Diehl may be the most well-known as a former state lawmaker and U.S. Senate candidate who also successfully led a ballot campaign to repeal a law that indexed the gas tax to inflation. With the exception of Doughty, all six Republicans running statewide at this stage have run for office before, although most have been unsuccessful.

“Republicans across Massachusetts are seeing the need for real leadership and are excited to run in what will be an incredibly strong election year for candidates who care about ensuring individual liberty,” Diehl said in a statement welcoming Campanale and McMahon.

Diehl won four House races before he challenged U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018, losing another special election for state Senate along the way. Campanale won two House races before losing her bid for Worcester County register of deeds, while McMahon has lost races for attorney general and state Senate.

Rayla Campbell, the GOP candidate for secretary of state this cycle, ran a write-in campaign for Congress against U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park) in 2020 after failing to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and then coming up short in the number of primary votes she would have needed — 2,000 — to get her name on the general election ballot.

Despite the overall losing record, previous electoral defeats haven’t always been a predictor of future success. Baker, former state treasurer Joe Malone, and former governor Mitt Romney all suffered losses before winning statewide.

“I think even Romney might tell you that he might have lost had he not already run for Senate,” said Rob Gray, a Republican political consultant and analyst.

Lyons told State House News Service after his party suffered setbacks in 2020 that even unsuccessful candidates had laid the groundwork for the party for future elections.

“Each one of those candidates, new candidates, got 40 percent,” Lyons said, pointing to Republicans who ran against legislative incumbents like state Representative Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston) on the South Shore and state Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport) on the South Coast. “They are now set up, that district is now set up for us to take a real shot at it in 2022.”

Today, Lyons said he’s even more confident in Republican chances to build representation on Beacon Hill, comparing the political climate to what the party saw in 2010 during the Tea Party wave when the MassGOP basically doubled its ranks in the House.

“I think 2022 is 2010 on steroids. The policies of the left are really having a serious impact on middle income folks and when you see inflation at its highest level in 40 years, streets that are no longer safe, people are concerned,” Lyons said.

The MassGOP helped McMahon launch his campaign on Tuesday, March 1.

While that might have been an unusual step for a party to take before the primary field is officially established, Lyons said he was “pleased that a Republican has stepped up to offer Massachusetts voters an alternative to the Democrats’, and in particular, Attorney General Maura Healey’s, record of politicizing the office of the AG.”

“The Massachusetts Republican Party stands committed to electing Republicans and helping them in any way it can,” Lyons said.


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