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Arthur Schaper: Brian Herr for US Senate (Who’s He?)

Friday, February 07, 2014


Arthur Schaper asks: With so many liberal marks against Markey’s first proposed challenger Gabriel Gomez, what makes Herr the guy to run as a Republican?

Despite recently elected US Senator Edward "Maryland" Markey's relatively low favorability numbers (and his diminished name recognition in the Commonwealth), the only name so far to throw his hat in to run against Markey is Republican selectman Brian Herr of Hopkinton. So, who is the guy?

MassLive.com reports:

Herr portrayed himself as an outsider to government who can bring a new perspective to Washington. "For me, it's all about the dysfunction in Washington D.C.," Herr said in a phone interview with The Republican / MassLive.com. "Whether you look at it from a Democratic, Republican or independent perspective, there's a lot of frustration about what goes on in Washington, D.C. ... it's time for a change.”

An outsider who wants to get inside: Sounds good. Markey is as inside as it gets, serving since ’76, with nothing but a paycheck, a climate change caucus (which melted away), and a government worker legacy behind him. Even when a Democrat-lite ran against him, Markey still won by only ten points: not impressive for a Democrat in a three-to-one Democratic state.

Herr cashed in on an initiative against a local casino, and won. Local leaders respect him.

Herr the candidate

About his candidacy, Herr chooses not to take sides, and staying outside of the fray, the candidate blames Washington, which certainly includes Republican along with Democrats. Playing the "dysfunction" card, Herr apparently has no regard for the US Constitution, both spirit and letter. The Framers created a form of government driven by dysfunction. As US Senator Tom Coburn had shared: "The problem with the parties is that they agree too much." This Coburn declared toward the end of 2013, one of the most unproductive years in Washington history.

Then Herr declares: "It's time for a change." Do you feel the tingle go up your leg on that one? Every candidate launching a campaign automatically sends that message. Vote for me, not for him. That’s change, Brian!

Where does he stand on the issues?

Beyond Herr’s hollow sentiments, MassLive’s next statement was a slap in the face to conservatives:

Like many Republicans in Massachusetts, Herr is a fiscal conservative who is liberal on social issues.

Is this sentiment true? Social conservatives threatened to pull their support from the Mass GOP should the party endorse Baker running mate Karyn Polito’s stance on gay marriage, in that she declared that she would not undo settled law on the issue. Could be serious. One Massachusetts Party leader told me that the GOP caucus has its pro-choice and pro-life elements. But beyond the factual accuracy of Masslive.com's statement, the deeper affront of the media’s statist-liberal, back-handed definition of “Massachusetts Republican” represents a shameless attempt to redefine the political opposition, however marginal. One local paper in California defined pro-choice, pro-gay marriage Republicans in contrast to the other Republicans and their “socially intolerant versions of conservatism”. Pro-life is intolerant? No, the paper’s take on that policy stance – that’s intolerance, and from the media, no less.

Herr could have challenged that offensive idea in the article, but since he's more about running for something rather than standing for the full platform of the Republican Party, no one should be surprised.

The article then outlines Herr as supporting abortion rights and gay marriage as a matter of "equal rights".

Excuse me? Since when was terminating the life inside of a pregnant mother an absolute right? What about one's right to life, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the right from which all other rights depend? The abortion issue is hardly settled (the United States Supreme Court limited abortion at viability), and arguing from rights only makes the argument more complex. As for marriage, a commitment of two people as one is not a right to begin with. Distinct groups of people (minors, mentally challenged individuals) are not allowed to marry, for example.

Republicans and conservatives face the frustrating dilemma of seeking office in a state where gay marriage was first recognized by judicial fiat. This reality creates some problems. One has to wonder why the state party has not endorsed getting the government out of marriage entirely? Perhaps future statewide GOP candidates can settle in the “settled law” argument, even if they disagree with the policy.

Is he just another Gabriel Gomez?

With so many liberal marks against Markey’s first proposed challenger, what makes Herr the guy to run as a Republican?

Herr touts his fiscal conservatism. He also recognizes individuals' right to protect themselves and their property. Then he follows with more purple pivoting. Since the Second Amendment was passed centuries ago, new laws must curtail modern weapons and other threats to public safety, blah, blah blah.

His flawed gun control argument ignores that the Second Amendment defends our rights from an encroaching federal government. Weapons bans do not work, either.

Brian Herr is another Gabriel Gomez waffle. I can't write "clone", since the announced Republican is white, thus identity politics won't matter.

With a liberal stance on abortion (at least Gomez was pro-life), and supporting gay marriage as “equal rights”, plus his distasteful stance on gun control, Herr has lighter skin, and lighter credentials.

When will statewide Bay State Republican candidates give up on playing Democrat in a field of blue to win?


Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.


Related Slideshow: New England Communities With the Most Political Clout 2013

The Sunlight Foundation, in conjunction with Azavea, released data maps this week showing political contribution dollars to federal elections dating back to 1990 -- by county.

GoLocal takes a look at the counties in New England that had the highest per-capita contributions in the 2012 election cycle -- and talked with experts about what that meant for those areas in New Engand, as well as the candidates.  

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25. Merrimack County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.86

Total contributions: $1,447,713

Merrimack County is named after the Merrimack River and is home to the states capital, Concord. Merrimack County has a total area of 956 square miles and a population of 146,761.

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24. Cheshire County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.88

Total contributions: $759,209

Cheshire is one of the five original counties in New Hampshire and was founded in 1771. The highest point in Cheshire County is located at the top of Mount Monadnock, which was made famous by the poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

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23. Rockingham County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.96

Total contributions: $2,965,530

Rockingham has 37 communities and has a population of 297,820. Rockingham County also was home to the famous poet, Robert Frost

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22. Belknap County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.02

Total contributions: $604,512

Belknap County is one of the ten counties in New Hampshire and has a population of 60,327. It is located in the center of New Hampshire and the largest city is Laconia.

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21. Hampshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.41

Total contributions: $1,664,077

Hampshire County has a total area of 545 square miles and is located in the middle of Massachusetts. Hampshire County is also the only county to be surrounded in all directions by other Massachusetts counties.

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20. Barnstable County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.90

Total contributions: $2,348,541

Barnstable County was founded in 1685 and has three national protected areas. Cape Cod National Seashore is the most famous protected area within Barnstable County and brings in a high amount of tourists every year.

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19. Berkshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $12.49

Total contributions: $1,624,400

Berkshire County is located on the western side of Massachusetts and borders three different neighboring states. Originally the Mahican Native American Tribe inhabited Berkshire County up until the English settlers arrived and bought the land in 1724. 

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18. Essex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.22

Total contributions: $9,991,201

Essex is located in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and contains towns such as Salem, Lynn, and Andover. Essex was founded in 1643 and because of Essex historical background, the whole county has been designated as the Essex National Heritage Area.

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17. Chittendon County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.86

Total contributions: $2,196,107

Chittenden has a population of 158,504, making it Vermont’s most populated county. Chittenden’s largest city is Burlington, which has about one third of Vermont’s total population.

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16. Lamoille County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $14.82

Total contributions: $369,854

Lamoille County was founded in 1835 and has a population of 24,958. The county has 464 square miles, of which 461 of them are land.

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15. Addison County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $15.49

Total contributions: $569,299

Located on the west side of Vermont, Addison County has a total area of 808 square miles. Addison's largest town is Middlebury, where the Community College of Vermont and Middlebury College are located.

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14. Newport County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $16.02

Total contributions: $1,214,26

Newport County is one of the five Rhode Island Counties and was founded in 1703. Just like Connecticut, none of Rhode Island counties have an any governmental functions.

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13. Cumberland County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $18.33

Total contributions: $5,205,507

Cumberland County has a population of 283,921 and is Maine’s most populated county. The county was named after the William, Duke of Cumberland, a son of King George II.

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12. Windsor County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.57

Total contributions: $1,156,149

Windsor County is the largest county in Vermont and consists of 971 square miles of land and 5 square miles of water.

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11. Bristol County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.91

Total contributions: $1,027,472

Bristol County has a population of 49,144 and is the third smallest county in the United States. Bristol County was originally apart of Massachusetts, but was transferred to Rhode Island in 1746.

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10. Grafton County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012 :$20.95

Total contributions: $1,868,739

With a population of 89,181, Grafton County is the second largest county in New Hampshire. Home of New Hampshire’s only national forest, White Mountain National Forest takes up about half of Grafton’s total area 

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9. Carrol County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: 2012: $22.81

Total contributions: $1,012,10

Created in 1840, Carroll County has a population of 47,567. Carroll County was also named after Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.

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8. LItchfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $22.86

Total contributions: $4,286,143

Although it is Connecticut’s largest county, Litchfield has the lowest population density in all of Connecticut. Since 1960 all Connecticut counties have no county government.

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7. Middlesex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $32.81

Total contributions: $50,432,154

Middlesex County has a population of 1,503,085 and has been ranked as the most populous county in New England.  The county government was abolished in 1997, but the county boundaries still exists for court jurisdictions and other administrative purposes.

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6. Nantucket County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $33.41

Total contributions: $344,021

Nantucket County consists of a couple of small islands and is a major tourist destination in Massachusetts. Normally Nantucket has a population of 10,298, but during the summer months the population can reach up to 50,000.

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5. Norfolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $35.87

Total contributions: $24,459,854

Named after a county from England, Norfolk County is the wealthiest county in Massachusetts. As of 2011, Norfolk was ranked the 32nd highest income county in the United States. 

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4. Dukes County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $36.32

Total contributions: $618,960

Consisting of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, Dukes County is one of Massachusetts’ top vacation spots. Originally Dukes County was apart New York, however it was transferred to Massachusetts on October 7, 1691.

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3. Suffolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $40.73

Total contributions: $30,323,537

Suffolk County has a population of 744,426 and contains Massachusetts’s largest city, Boston. Although Suffolk’s county government was abolished in the late 1900’s, it still remains as a geographic area.

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2. Knox County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $45.89

Total contributions: $1,820,410

Knox County was established on April 1st, 1860 and was named after American Revolutionary War General Henry Knox.  The county has a population of 39,668 and is the home of the Union Fair.

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1. Fairfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $55.65.  

Total contributions: $51,970,701 

In a population of 933,835, Fairfield County is the most densely populated county in Connecticut, and contains four of the state's largest cities -- Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury.


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