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Contest for MassGOP Chair Heats Up

Saturday, December 29, 2012

 

A crowded field of Republican hopefuls are vying for the chance to succeed outgoing party chairman Bob Maginn next month. The Massachusetts Republican Party's 80 committee members will vote at the end of January to decide who will helm the GOP in the Bay State at what several observers say is a critical juncture for the party.

At this point, prominent candidates for party chair position include Quincy City Councilor and former Scott Brown campaign deputy finance director, who threw her hat in the ring early and enjoys the outgoing Republican Senator's backing.

She is competing against Dean Cavaretta and David D'Arcangelo, who are running together for the position. Cavaretta served as deputy campaign manager for Karyn Polito's 2010 campaign for State Treasurer and also ran for State Senate in 2012 against Democrat Jamie Eldridge in the Middlesex and Worcester District. D'Arcangelo, a Malden City Councilor, has a long history in Massachusetts politics as well, having served as a correspondence aide to Governor Paul Cellucci and in the State Senate as communications coordinator and municipal liaison for Richard Tisei.

"We feel it's time for a conversation about how do we strengthen our operations," Cavaretta said, noting that he and D'Arcangelo are developing a very detailed platform based on their slogan of "ground game, grassroots and geography."

"We as a party have to make a committment to compete everywhere."

Cavaretta and D'Arcangelo have already begun laying some of the groundwork to help candidates that are willing to put in the work get the support they need to win on their website NewMassPlaybook.com. That kind of incentive-based metric system for supporting candidates is something Cavaretta would like to bring to the state's Republican party.

"We're asking people to take a step back and look at our plans, look at our website," he said. "We feel it's a time to get very specific about the future of our operation."

Rick Green, who owns a multimillion dollar online auto parts business and serves as chairman of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, was elected to the Republican State Committee for the First Middlesex District last year and has emerged as another strong candidate for party chair.

Green said he became more involved in the Republican party as both a donor and an activist during Brown's initial run for Senate in 2010, and he hopes to bring the experience of starting a business and growing an organization to bear on the MassGOP if elected.

"I think we have a lot of great candidates, and my job as chair is to get those candidates out front," he said.

Only the 80 state committee members will cast votes for the next party chair, and Green said his goal has been to meet one-on-one with as many committee members as possible before the January 31 election. Since announcing his candidacy three weeks ago, Green said he has at least spoken with roughly three quarters of the delegation.

"I'm very open to forums or debates or things like that," said Green. "I'm actively looking to participate if they're set up.

Bill McCarthy, Republican committeeman for the Second Worcester District, said he and some fellow party members are in the process of trying to set up a debate between the candidates for chair in the Worcester area, most likely during the second week of January.

Roy Jerman, chairman of the recently-formed Massachusetts Conservative Assembly (MCA), said the coalition hopes to set up conference calls with the candidates to see if they can get a clear sense of whether or not they will choose to endorse a single candidate, though due to its broad base, the MCA may choose not to do so.

Marlborough Republican Paul Ferro said that, at this point, Green seems to be enjoying an advantage of about 3-to-1 over the Brown-backed Hughes when it comes to public endorsements from state committee members.

"Just from what I've seen, it looks like Mr. Green is doing pretty well, he seems to have made a lot of friends on the committee," said Ferro, noting that Green's work with the fiscal alliance has had a significant impact as well. 

 

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