Mass. GOP stepping up its outreach
Bringing in Trump campaign aides for fundraiser, targeting Haddad, other Dems
WITH A TAX DEBATE LOOMING on Beacon Hill, the Massachusetts Republican Party appears to be stepping up its outreach to Bay State voters with a message that GOP candidates and President Trump have an opportunity to make gains in 2020.
In a series of emails over the last few weeks, state GOP chairman Jim Lyons has attacked what he perceives as the growing ranks of progressives on Beacon Hill, US Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Capitol Hill, and the leftward shift of most political leaders in Massachusetts.
“In Massachusetts, it’s apparently fashionable to be a socialist. The problem for the Massachusetts Democrats is they’ve gone off the deep end, off the cliff,” Lyons wrote in an August 29 email. “All they care about is protecting their power, exerting control, and inflicting Bay Staters with more taxes to pay for their endless list of government programs and handouts.”
Lyons said the Mass GOP wants to pick up 24 seats in the Legislature, enough to sustain a Baker veto. He said the party has identified 25 House districts where Republicans have a very good chance of either holding on to seats or claiming them from Democrats.
“Our Republican candidates believe in limited government and free enterprise. They will work with Governor Baker and not against him. And they come from districts that Governor Baker and Senator Scott Brown won, districts where President Trump won or came very close, yet these districts are currently represented by liberal Democrats. That’s about to change.”
Of the 25 House seats on Lyons’s list, 16 are currently held by Republicans. The nine Democrats being targeted include Rep. Patricia Haddad of Somerset, the speaker pro tempore and the third-highest-ranking member of the House. Othe Democrats being targeted include Reps. Colleen Garry of Dracut, John Velis of Westfield, Kathleen LaNatra of Kingston, David Robertson of Tewksbury, Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner, Linda Dean Campbell of Methuen, Josh Cutler of Duxbury, and Theodore Speliotis of Danvers.
GOP officials say polling data indicate key issues for Republican candidates will be immigration, taxes, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for all. On whether Massachusetts should become a sanctuary state, the GOP says its poll indicates 89 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of unenrolled voters answered no, while 49 percent of Democrats answered yes. On taxes, nearly two-thirds said their taxes are too high.Lyons is hosting a fundraiser September 30 with two members of Trump’s re-election team – Mercedes Schlapp, senior advisor to the Trump-Pence campaign, and Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign. A note on the contribution form says the two campaign workers will speak at the event as “honored guests and are not soliciting or asking for funds.”
Lyons and Baker have never seen eye to eye on a host of political issues, but they have learned to co-exist. Baker attended a fundraiser in 2018 when Lyons mounted what ended up being an unsuccessful re-election campaign for the House. In his emails as party chair, Lyons has praised Baker as the most popular governor in America and vowed to win enough House seats to help sustain his vetoes of Democratic spending.