The contretemps between the state Republican Party and gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher continued this weekend with Fisher publicly identifying one of two political insiders he said offered him money to drop out of the race.
Fisher identified committeeman Steve Aylward of Watertown as one of the two people during a speech Saturday at a luncheon hosted by the Groton Republican town committee, according to Fisher and Deirdre Slavin-Mitchell, the Groton Republican Committee chairwoman.
In an interview with the Globe late Sunday, Fisher said Aylward called him in December and said he should contact a person in the state party who could provide him with a monetary incentive to bow out of the contest. “I was supposed to call this bigger guy,” Fisher said.
Aylward acknowledged Sunday that he called Fisher to encourage him to run for a different position but denied that he mentioned money.
“The Republicans need people to run for all offices, so there was just a polite suggestion on my part that maybe he should run for another office,” Aylward said. Fisher, however, contends that Aylward named a specific dollar amount as an “incentive” to leave the race. He declined to go into specifics Sunday, but said during a press conference this month that Massachusetts Republican Party officials offered him $1 million to drop out.
Multiple party leaders had been asking Fisher to stop his campaign, so he was not shocked when Aylward called, Fisher said Sunday.
Several days before the call, Fisher said, one of his campaign staffers told him to expect “someone in the state party to be calling you and offering you money to drop out of the race.”
Fisher said he had not met the party leader who Aylward allegedly told him to talk to, but he plans to name that person Monday morning on The Kuhner Report on WRKO. He declined to identify the party leader Sunday night.
After he narrowly failed to secure enough votes to get his name on the primary ballot during a convention in March, Fisher sued the party. The GOP later accused him of demanding $1 million to drop his lawsuit, at which point Fisher, who is now on the ballot, fired back that the party had started monetary negotiations when they tried to get him to drop out of the race in the first place.