In another blow to the state’s underdog political party, Massachusetts Republican Party Vice chairman Tom Mountain resigned his position, he wrote Sunday night.
“Recently, many of you likely saw a blog post about me. It is scurrilous and demeaning and I will refrain from elaborating on it here,” he said in an e-mail to the 80-member Republican State Committee.
“For the good of our Party, I will be stepping down as MassGOP Vice Chair immediately to focus on an effort to clear my name,” Mountain wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by the Globe. “During the past few months of turmoil at the MassGOP, I’ve consistently said that incapable officers should step aside. Regardless of the truth about what happened, this blog post, and the conspiracy behind it, has rendered me incapable of serving as an effective officer of the MassGOP.”
Mountain did not name the website he was referring to, and he did not respond to Globe inquiries.
Earlier this month, turtleboysports.com published a story, including screenshots of what it said were Mountain’s comments, with the headline: “Vice Chairman Of Mass GOP Leaves Tons Of Creepy Comments For Women On Facebook Including Underage Girls, Claims He Was Hacked.”
Mountain did not answer Globe inquiries about whether he had authored the comments, some of which still appeared on Facebook Sunday night.
The turtleboysports.com site also published another story. It claimed that Mountain was duped into interacting with a user “pretending to be a … model.”
The state party’s executive committee had already set a special meeting for Monday evening to discuss “allegations involving the Vice Chairman,” according to an internal notice circulated by the party.
At the meeting, the executive committee voted unanimously to accept Mountain’s resignation, GOP chairman Jim Lyons said in a statement Monday evening.
“The focus of our party remains on supporting the fight for working families and Massachusetts residents who are deeply concerned about rising fuel costs, public safety, inflation, and employment opportunities,” he said.
Lyons — who has had a strained relationship with Mountain amid broader tensions within the party — did not return requests for comment from the Globe. But he told the Boston Herald that a number of fellow Republicans had asked him to vet the allegations in the online reports.
Mountain told the GOP state committee in his resignation letter that he believes he is “the victim of a crime” and has retained legal counsel. He did not say who is representing him.
His resignation, and whatever further drama it brings, are just another blow to a party that faces dwindling vote share and limited fund-raising. Less than 10 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered Republicans, and the party has far less money in its campaign coffers than it did even a few years ago.
The Mountain drama just makes things more difficult, Republicans said.
“I think we’re looking like even more of a laughingstock,” said State Representative Shawn Dooley, a Norfolk Republican who serves on the state committee and ran unsuccessfully to lead it as chairman. “This is not how a serious organization behaves. This is not how a professional organization behaves.”
The struggling state party was recently derailed by scandal after Deborah Martell, an elected Republican on the state committee, wrote anti-gay e-mails to and about a gay Republican congressional candidate, bringing condemnation from figures as prominent as Governor Charlie Baker and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. A group of donors said earlier this month that they will no longer give to the party unless its leadership changes.
Amid the drama, Mountain has been at odds with Lyons, the brash conservative chairman who has disparaged Baker and did not call on Martell to resign, saying he refused to bow to “cancel culture.” Mountain has vocally condemned Lyons’s handling of the situation and called on Martell to resign, saying her continued participation gives the party a black eye.
He seemed to allude to those positions in his resignation letter Sunday.
“It has been my honor to serve as MassGOP Vice Chair,” Mountain wrote. “I hope others follow this example by ALWAYS doing what’s right for our Party even when those decisions require personal sacrifice. We would certainly have a better MassGOP as a result.”
A spokesperson for the party did not return requests for comment.
Party bylaws indicate the vacancy would be filled at the next state committee meeting, which is scheduled for September.
Steve Aylward, a member of the Republican State Committee who has been critical of Mountain, said the news of his resignation is a step forward for the party.
“He wasn’t doing a good job in the role,” said Aylward, a conservative who aligns more closely with Lyons.