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Scott Brown endorses campaign aide’s bid to run state Republican Party

Senator Scott Brown has publicly endorsed his campaign’s deputy finance director for a new role as chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, a move that could safeguard hundreds of thousands of dollars of potential funds for his next race.

The incumbent senator, who retains clout within the GOP despite losing his reelection campaign last month, said Kirsten Hughes has the breadth of political experience to be a strong party leader.

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Earlier this year, she won a seat on the Quincy City Council despite being a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

She started her career working on a campaign for former Governor William F. Weld and was the party’s political field director in 2010, an election in which the GOP doubled its members in the state House of Representatives.

The Globe reported earlier this week that the current chairman, Robert A. Maginn Jr., would not seek reelection, and also that Hughes had declared her candidacy to replace him.

“As a local candidate herself, Kirsten understands and appreciates the role local party committees and volunteers play in a strong party and in winning campaigns,” Brown wrote.

“Speaking from experience, I know our farm team is the key to our party’s future, and that starts with recruiting and developing candidates at the local level,” the senator added. “In addition, she has a wonderful relationship with my major donors, who as you know raised millions of dollars for the party to help fund the GOP’s largest ever field and turnout operation with 35 offices, staff salaries, phones, technology, and get-out-the-vote programs.”

The comments about grassroots organizing, in part, answer the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s recent boasts about the strength of its own grassroots network, after first-time political candidate Elizabeth Warren beat Brown in November.

The mention of Hughes’s strong relationship with his donors also highlights her role in raising money that not only benefitted Brown’s campaign, but also a joint victory fund with the state GOP.

That fund has more than $700,000 in it, party treasurer Brent Andersen told the Globe, and it could provide an immediate boost to Brown were he to launch a special election campaign if Senator John F. Kerry is tapped to join the Obama administration Cabinet.

Earlier today, Brown himself reported having no more than $200,000 in his personal campaign account, making the victory fund money even more important to jump-starting any special election campaign.

Having Hughes as party chairwoman would ensure the funding - which Brown largely helped the party raise - is not spent frivolously. It could be spent on more general party building.

Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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