GOP chair targets ‘radical left Dems’

Lyons email attempts to recruit Republican candidates

MASSACHUSETTS REPUBLICAN PARTY Chairman Jim Lyons sent an email out over the weekend recruiting candidates to “challenge the radical left Democrats” across the state.

The email asks: “Have you had enough of the Radical Left’s nonsense?” One recipient, a lifelong Democrat, passed the email along to CommonWealth with a note saying he assumed he had received the email because he had donated to Gov. Charlie Baker.

Lyons did not respond to a request for comment.

Gus Bickford, the chair of the state Democratic Party, said Lyons’s language did not surprise him. “It continues to smack of Donald Trump’s party taking root in Massachusetts since Jim Lyons was elected,” he said. “It is disgusting to see the level of rhetoric used by the chairman.”

Lyons stirred controversy recently when the state Republican Party took out Facebook ads accusing Democratic lawmakers of backing “infanticide” by supporting legislation expanding abortion access in Massachusetts.

GOP chair Jim Lyons.

The legislation would permit abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases where the fetus is not expected to survive. Current law allows an abortion after 24 weeks only if necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

The situation with Lyons is awkward for Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican who talks with great pride about his ability to work with officials across the aisle. Baker is the top Republican officeholder in the state and Lyons is the chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party. The two men don’t see eye to eye on a host of issues, but Baker did travel to Andover last August to attend a fundraiser for Lyons as he campaigned for his state rep seat, which he lost in the general election.

When asked about Lyons’s comments about infanticide, Baker criticized the “inflated language that exists on all sides in politics.” But he also said he did not favor late-term abortions and would support retaining the current state law.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The governor’s spokesman declined comment on Tuesday about Lyons’s latest comments, referring questions about the GOP state chair to Baker’s campaign spokesman, who could not be reached for comment.

Bickford called Lyons’s stances “very awkward” for Baker. “I’ve been pressing Charlie Baker to stand up and speak out against his own chair,” he said.