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In symbolic reversal, Mass. GOP moving office to Boston and ‘back in the fight’

Amy Carnevale, chairperson of the Mass. Republican Party, seen last year inside the party's Woburn headquarters. The Mass. GOP is shifting its office back to Merrimac Street in Boston.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The head of the Massachusetts Republican Party said the state GOP is shifting its headquarters back to Boston’s West End, telling supporters in an email Monday that the party has begun cutting into the heavy debts accrued under her predecessor.

The announcement marks a logistical and symbolic reversal: The party had for years called 85 Merrimac St. home before its former chairperson, Jim Lyons, in 2019 shifted its headquarters to Woburn in what was billed then as a cost-cutting maneuver.

The decision to return to Boston this month will cost the party. Logan Trupiano, a party spokesperson, said its monthly rent will rise $2,200 to $5,900. But Amy Carnevale — who replaced Lyons as chairperson a year ago — said the new location is worth it. The shift will help the party recruit interns, connect with elected officials on nearby Beacon Hill, and “promote conservative values from the epicenter of the state’s media apparatus.”

“This move signifies that the Republican Party is back in the fight,” Carnevale wrote in an email to supporters, touting that the party is in “the strongest position we’ve seen in years.”

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Carnevale noted that the party raised roughly $770,000 in 2023, after pulling in $1.4 million into its federal account the previous two years. The sum last year was bolstered by fees the party charged presidential candidates to be on the state’s GOP primary ballot.

Carnevale emphasized that the party is still climbing out of a financial hole. She warned last year that the party had misreported hundreds of thousands of dollars to state campaign finance officials under Lyons, and may have owed vendors as much as $600,000. She said in her Monday email that the party has paid down roughly $200,000 in debt so far.

The state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance identified $300,000 the party had misreported in the 2022 cycle. Carnevale called it an issue that “we are continuing to work through.” The party is also set to pay a $6,450 fine to the Federal Election Commission for so-called reporting issues, she said.

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The party last September also settled allegations with the state attorney general’s office that it took $137,000 in “impermissible” donations from a state senator in 2020 and used the money to help the campaign of his wife. The party agreed to pay a $15,000 fine.

In separate settlement deals, the senator, Ryan Fattman, and his wife, Stephanie Fattman, Worcester County’s register of probate, agreed to pay roughly $200,000 more. Lyons, who led the party from 2019 to last year, was also referred to prosecutors as part of the same investigation, but the attorney general’s office has not announced any developments since saying they were in negotiations last fall.

Republicans face an uphill battle on Beacon Hill, where Democrats control every statewide elected office and hold supermajorities in both the House and Senate. The Republican Party’s share of registered voters sat at less than 9 percent last February, the lowest of any New England state that tracks party registration. And it’s also unclear what Republican may try to challenge US Senator Elizabeth Warren in November in the marquee statewide election on this year’s ballot.

Still, the Mass. GOP has claimed some victories. The state party flipped a state Senate district when Spencer’s Peter Durant, a longtime state representative, won a special election to fill the seat once held by Anne Gobi, a Democrat who joined Governor Maura Healey’s administration.

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The party also supported Donald Trump’s successful efforts to remain on the March 5 presidential primary ballot in the face of a court challenge.

The head of the Mass. GOP also hinted on Monday that the party may reestablish a so-called “Victory program” years after a coordinated campaign effort built under former governor Charlie Baker sputtered out.

That program had as many as 27 field offices in 2014 to help local and state candidates and reportedly more than 40 in 2018, when Baker successfully won reelection. But the program collapsed amid a rift between Lyons and Baker, along with a lucrative fund-raising operation dubbed the Massachusetts Victory Committee that pumped millions into the party’s coffers through an effort with the Republican National Committee.

Carnevale said Monday that the party is “taking steps” to reestablish physical party footholds “in the critically important parts of the state where our candidates and grass-roots volunteers supporting those campaigns are located.”

Trupiano, the party spokesperson, declined to describe the scale of the new effort, saying only that the party has a “couple options.”


Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him @mattpstout.