Massachusetts Republican State Committee Chairman Robert A. Maginn Jr. announced Wednesday that he won’t run for reelection, setting the stage for a January battle over the direction of the party and a power grab by outgoing US Senator Scott Brown.
Brown, who lost reelection last month, is nonetheless viewed as a party standardbearer and a frontrunner for upcoming statewide races. Two state committee members say that Brown is behind the push for a new candidate for the post -- his campaign finance aide Kirsten Hughes -- and has asked another potential candidate to step aside.
But that has some Republican activists grumbling that their party -- which claims under 12 percent of registered voters in Massachusetts -- is too easily steered by the current establishment \
The Republican party in Massachusetts, which represents less than 12 percent of voters,
Neither Maginn nor Hughes returned calls from the Globe.
The imminent tug-of-war for leadership
“You’ve got a sitting incumbent US Senator who loses by 8 points to a newcomer and they’re going to take over and tell us how to run the party?” a member of the state committee.
His behind-the-scenes backing of his is alternately viewed as smart leadership and Maginn, who presided over devastating election year losses, was a Bain & Co. consultant and finance chairman for former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
is throwing his weight behind a new candidate for chairman of the Republican State Committee as the controversial current chair announced he is stepping down in January.
throws another candidate who intends to announce her candidacy as early as Thursday.
state committee members on Wednesday that he will step down rather than run for reelection.
After much thought, prayer,
“After much thought, prayer and conversations with those closest to me, as well as many of you, I have not heard the voice of the Lord calling me to seek re-election as Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party at this time,” Maginn wrote in a letter to state committee members on Wednesday.
A prodigious campaign contributor, Maginn is the CEO of a computer software firm, and served as a finance chairman for former Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential bids. He presided over the election in which Romney lost his bid for president, US Senator Scott Brown lost the seat he’d won in 2010, and Republican membership in the legislature slipped by four members. Republicans will now hold just four seats in the 40-member Senate and 29 of 160 in the state House.
But Maginn said that he kept the promises he’d made and that he had “worked hardest in the grass roots to get our state reps and state senators the funding they needed to win reelection ... The results of November 6 in no way diminish the time, effort, emotion and commitment put forth on behalf of our candidates up and down the ballot by each of you.”
He also presided over a debate over the party’s direction in Massachusetts. An evangelical Christian, he spoke often of his faith and welcomed a discussion over whether the state party should model the conservative platform adopted by the national GOP. That platform rejected gay marriage and abortion without any exceptions.
“As a man of deep Christian beliefs, it has been personally satisfying to be able to have presided over the committee during a time when more social conservatives were elected to our ranks,” he also wrote. “I believe it has been very healthy to have vibrant debate over the direction of our Party and how we align our Republican values with the electorate.”Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieebbert.