Baker fails to gain ground in state GOP
Insiders say big spending didn’t yield results
COMPLETE ELECTION RESULTS were still not available last night, but Republican insiders said Gov. Charlie Baker appeared to lose ground Tuesday night in his bid to seize control of the Massachusetts Republican Party.
The insiders said Baker forces failed to increase their representation among the 80 state committee officials elected Tuesday night and may have even lost ground to candidates loyal to GOP party chairman Jim Lyons. Lyons, a President Trump supporter, stunned the Baker forces in 2019 by winning the party chairmanship by a margin of 47-30.
Ed Lyons, a Republican activist and Baker supporter, conducted his own analysis of the state committee races on Twitter Wednesday and concluded the trendlines were not favorable for the governor. “Yes, there are members in the middle, and it’s hard to count, but I believe that Governor Baker’s influence on our MassGOP State Committee weakened last night, and Trump’s strengthened, despite the massive resources spent to move the party closer to actual voters,” Lyons tweeted.
Several other insiders said they reached the same conclusion, although they said all of the votes haven’t been counted officially yet.
One race where the infighting became pretty intense was between Patricia Saint Aubin of Norfolk and Catherine Roman of Attleborough. Sources say the pro-Lyons forces went after Roman with all sorts of misleading accusations, while the pro-Baker forces targeted Saint Aubin, the incumbent committee woman from Norfolk. A mailing targeting Saint Aubin accused her of breaking a series of promises to Republicans and held her responsible for the loss in 2018 of the Senate seat held by Republican Richard Ross. The mailer even featured a sketch of Trump saying, “Patty, you’re fired.”
Saint Aubin, a Trump supporter, said she couldn’t believe the negative and misleading tone of the mailing. “It’s very sleazy,” she said. “These are Republicans we’re running against.”Saint Aubin appears to have prevailed, narrowly edging Roman, by a margin of just 46 votes, 3,177 to 3,131, according to party officials.
At a press conference Wednesday on state efforts to prepare for the coronavirus, Baker declined to take questions on other matters, saying he wanted to keep the focus on the virus.