It’s the Holy Grail that Massachusetts Republicans have been seeking for years: the blueprint for getting candidates elected to statewide office. There were those who thought Scott Brown had solved the riddle after his electrifying special-election victory in 2010 — only to see him lose decisively to Elizabeth Warren less than three years later. Now comes another special Senate election, and Republicans have another intriguing standard-bearer. Can Gabriel Gomez crack the code?
Broadly speaking, there are two contending theories of how the GOP can win in deep-blue Massachusetts. One school holds that Republicans do best when they run as reach-across-the-aisle moderates, taking liberal stands on social issues and distancing themselves as much as possible from the national party’s more conservative brand. The other holds that in an environment dominated by liberals, Republicans can succeed only by creating a contrast: Rather than hold themselves out as a paler shade of Democrat, they should focus on the values that made them Republicans in the first place.