Conservative Group Aims to Shake Up MassGOP
Monday, December 17, 2012
With 81 State Representative and 21 State Senate seats going unchallenged in the 2012 election cycle and remaining in Democratic hands, aims to improve on the Massachusetts Republican State Committee's lack of success in electing Republicans and finding qualified candidates to run in recent years.
MCA acting chairman Roy Jerman, a software architect from Taunton, started Massachusetts Conservative following the frustrating results of the 2010 mid-term elections, similar to the impulse that gave birth to the MCA this year.
"I think there's been a lot of frustration all around with people in this state that are more conservative in their views with the state being largely run by the Democratic party and not having much of a voice in the state," Jerman said.
Another of the group's leaders, Kevin Macomber, an engineer from Hubbardston, railed against the party's failure to take up strong positions on conservative issues and its lack of a clear plan of action.
"Why were over half of the Rep and Senate seats left unchallenged? Either it's laziness or incompetence."
One major issue for Jerman and his fellow MCA members is what they see as a lack of leadership and action in the state party. With current party chairman Bob Maginn's announcement that he will not seek another term next month, the state committee will have the opportunity to take the party in a new direction if they choose.
Maginn's departure was welcome news to Jerman, who identified the outgoing party leader as part of the problem facing the MassGOP today.
"He was just the wrong guy," he said. "People couldn't bring themselves to rally behind him."
Maginn has well-established ties to former governor and failed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and was criticized by some conservatives for being more focused on the national race than the issues facing the party in Massachusetts.
Candidates for Maginn's seat have already begun to emerge, including Quincy City Councilor and former Scott Brown campaign deputy finance director Kirsten Hughes. However, Jerman expressed concern that putting Hughes at the helm would result in another Maginn situation, where the chair is tied too closely to a specific candidate.
While the MCA has not yet decided to support a candidate for party chair, Jerman and Macomber both mentioned Rick Green as a potential choice.
Green was elected to the Republican State Committee this year from the First Middlesex District. He owns an online auto parts business and serves as chairman of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
"He's not an insider, he will listen and he's got business skills," said Macomber.
Reviving the Party
Newcomers like Green may have injected some new life into the State Republican Committee, but Jerman said there are still many members who have become complacent and seem to like the idea of sitting on the committee more than the work of staging a GOP comeback in the Bay State.
"Revive the party, make it a party people want to go to," he said, noting that there are many splinter groups around the state that have a lot in common with the MassGOP.
Jerman and Macomber are both registered Independents, and the core group of the MCA has recruited Republicans, Independents, as well as members of the Liberty Party, Constitution Party and Libertarians. The Tea Party Patriots, Massachusetts Republican Assembly, Conservative Voter Regulation, Massachusetts Conservative, National Rifle Association, Massachusetts Against Illegal Immigration and the Gun Owner Action League are also represented in its budding ranks.
"One of the things we've been very deliberate about is trying to bring diversity into our group," said Jerman.
Macomber said the MCA is keeping its platform narrow, focusing on top constitutional and conservative issues rather than social ones.
"People are tired of being excluded."
Since October, the MCA has gained membership and momentum, with representation from across the state. Jerman said several Republican town committees have expressed interest in working with the MCA as well because they feel they are not getting adequate help from the state committee.
"I think a lot of this is the stars aligning," said Macomber.
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