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Robert Maginn elected chairman of the Mass. Republican Party

The Massachusetts Republican Party has picked its new leader heading into a busy year for the GOP, selecting Belmont software executive Robert Maginn as its chairman last night.

Maginn, a candidate for state treasurer in 1998, is now chief executive officer of Jenzabar Inc. of Boston.

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He was the favored choice of Senator Scott Brown and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, both facing important election campaigns next year.

Maginn defeated former US attorney Frank McNamara by a 51-to-21 vote at the Newton Marriott. He replaces Jennifer Nassour, who stepped down in October to prepare for delivering a third child in February.

Both Brown and Romney had a stake in the outcome, because the chairman decides how to allocate state and national campaign donations. Brown is facing a tough reelection campaign in 2012, and Romney is running for president.

In Romney’s case, the chairman can also become an important surrogate spokesman as national reporters seek context about his record as governor from 2003-2007.

In a statement, Brown lauded the choice.

“I congratulate Bob Maginn on his hard-earned victory, and commend Frank McNamara for running a spirited and energetic campaign,” the senator said. “As we look ahead to 2012, it is critical that we stand united as a party. Next year offers us a real opportunity to elect commonsense leaders at the State House and Congress. Under the leadership of Chairman Maginn, I am confident our candidates will succeed if we stay focused on creating jobs and getting the economy moving again.”

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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