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editorial

Museum of presidential losers has a distinctly Bay State flair

A photo of Mitt Romney is the most recent addition to the They Also Ran Gallery in Norton, Kan.

Orlin Wagner for The Boston Globe

A photo of Mitt Romney is the most recent addition to the They Also Ran Gallery in Norton, Kan.

The museum of losing presidential nominees in Norton, Kan., need enter no encomium upon Massachusetts; it needs none. The world — or at least political junkies — knows it by heart. There is Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry, and Mitt Romney. There is Rufus King, and Daniel Webster.

These men, all from the Bay State, failed in their pursuits of the presidency, and are now immortalized on the walls of Norton’s They Also Ran Gallery, which added Romney’s portrait to its hall of losers in a ceremony last month.

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The museum is a great idea, recognizing candidates who poured their hearts into their races and inviting visitors to think about how different American history might have been if candidates such as Aaron Burr and George McClellan had won instead of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

But the loser museum is also starting to look uncomfortably like a landmark of Massachusetts politics that somehow got stranded in the middle of the Great Plains. Put a Dunkin’ Donuts in the lobby, and it will start to feel like home.

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