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Massachusetts Republicans Look For Early Convention To Give Candidates A Boost

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WAMC
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Massachusetts Republicans endorsed a full slate of candidates at the party’s convention over the weekend.  This year’s election will feature open seats for Governor, Lt. Governor and two other statewide offices.

The GOP is hoping to make inroads in Massachusetts where it currently holds no statewide offices, no seats in the state’s congressional delegation and is outnumbered in the Massachusetts legislature by about 5 to 1.

Republican National Committee member Ron Kaufman of Massachusetts, who has been a party official for more than 25 years, said he sees a lot of enthusiasm. More people are signing up to volunteer on campaigns, and unlike years past there is a full Republican ticket.

"  And most importantly I am upbeat most that Barack Obama has given us a great climate to run in."

What Republicans may have in enthusiasm, they lack in experience.  With the exception of Charlie Baker, the convention endorsed candidate for governor, and his running mate Karyn Polito, who ran statewide in 2010, the rest of the ticket is unknown and untested.   Saturday’s convention in Boston was the first time on the big stage for most of the candidates.

Delegates nominated Brian Herr, a selectmen from Hopkinton to run against Democratic U.S. Senator Ed Markey in November.  Herr described himself as a “reasonable, responsible, respectful Republican” who supports term limits, tax cuts and a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

" I know this is going to be a tough race," Herr told delegates in his speech to the convention.

Democratic Governor Deval Patrick is not running for a third term.  Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steve Grossman are both running for governor. Republicans have had some success in past elections in Massachusetts when they have not faced Democratic incumbents

John Miller, the Republican candidate for attorney general, is a lawyer, an expert in public infrastructure contracting with degrees in civil engineering and soil mechanics from MIT.

" Not what you would expect from a nominee for attorney general,right?," said Miller

The delegates endorsed Mike Heffernan for treasurer. He has over 25 years of private sector experience in financial services.

" I am not your typical candidate running for political office. I believe in public service over career politics."

   The party also endorsed Patricia Saint Aubin, an accountant , to run against state auditor Suzanne Bump and Dave D’Arcangelo to oppose Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

    The Massachusetts Democratic Party has a vaunted get-out-the-vote effort for statewide elections.  But Republicans are showing signs of closing the gap in the so-called ground game, according to political consultant Tony Cignoli.

" They are using things like data mining, a higher form of getting out the vote made famous by President Obama's and Deval Patrick's team. Smart on their part. Now if they've got the candidates where the rubber meets the road it can make a  difference."

Cignoli said to be successful Republican candidates must hold on to their base, but also appeal to independents, who make up more than 50 percent of the state’s electorate. Unenrolled Massachusetts voters can decide to vote in either party’s primary.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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