Saturday, January 24, 2009


The Massachusetts Republican State Committee, with a small voter base and an even smaller group of legislators on Beacon Hill, meets to elect its new chair. Current chairman Peter Torkildsen, a former Congressman, is not seeking re-election after two years at the helm, saying he wants to spend more time with his daughter. The race comes as the GOP, which lost the governor's office two years ago, holds five seats in the 40-member Senate and 16 in the 160-member House. Republicans shed three House seats in November. And while rumors persist of who will take on Gov. Patrick in 2010, no candidates have stepped up. As of last week, there were three contenders for the chairmanship: Jennifer Nassour, a Republican state committeewoman from Charlestown; Michael Franco, a Holyoke Republican who has unsuccessfully run for representative and Governor's Council; and Joseph Manzoli from Shrewsbury, who managed Jeff Beatty's 2008 campaign against U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Manzoli is a late entry into the three-way race, having announced his plans earlier this month. "We have to save this party from disaster," he said. "That's why I'm running." Manzoli said Beatty's campaign was the first that he had lost, but the campaign had 4,000 volunteers and collected $2 million in donations and 1 million votes. His plans include creating a "government in waiting," investing heavily in all media, recruiting new candidates and installing Khalil Byrd, a former campaign aide to Beatty and Patrick, as executive director. Nassour and Franco faced off earlier this month at the Point Bar in Boston, with both calling for a "full audit" of what town and ward committees are still active and increased fundraising. Nassour said she would use the position as a bully pulpit on Beacon Hill. "Small businesses are getting killed," she told a small crowd of GOP activists. "It's a very easy message. Our job is done for us by the Democrats." Nassour said she would go after top Democratic legislative leaders, some of whom have ethics clouds hanging over them. With the GOP in the minority on Beacon Hill, "We can do a hell of lot more to them than they can do to us," she said. A former Air Force officer, Franco touted himself as a social conservative, pushing for bringing back "true Americanism," with "strong families" that have a mother and a father. "I believe we can change hearts and minds," he said, adding, "I'm not going to run anybody out" of the party for different beliefs.

(Tuesday, 7 pm, 242 Adams Place, Boxborough)

1 comment:

Percy Maguire said...

Joe Manzoli, based on his recent proclamations, shows that he has no fidelity to the truth.
For starters, Manzoli ran two years ago for the Mass GOP chairmanship and lost. So the Beatty campaign wasn't his only failure. Further, he inflates a senate campaign that was DOA. Fact -- Beatty only got 920,000 -- he was far removed from getting a million votes. Hardly a rounding error. In fact, he lost the vote of 180,000 citizens who voted for McCain but refused to vote for Beatty. Fact -- half the money the campaign raised went into fundraising. Moreover, at the end of the campaign, Beatty owed over $100K in outstanding debt. In short, they raised very little and spent it very poorly. Fact -- if they had 4000 volunteers they were well concealed. There was nothig as pathetic as Beatty greeting voters on Election Day in Boston with only Manzoli by his side. By my count, they were 3,999 short. In the end, they lost by a 2-1 margin.