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Richard Tisei bucks national GOP platform

Richard R. TiseiGlobe File/2010

Richard Tisei, the Republican candidate for the state's Sixth Congressional District, wrote to the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party Wednesday discouraging party activists from adopting the national GOP platform.

Tisei, a moderate who is openly gay, said the national platform "espouses beliefs that exclude many in our party, includ­ing myself."

"As a 'live-and-let-live' ­Republican, my philosophy is that the government should get off our backs, out of our wallets, and away from the bedroom," he wrote in a letter to state GOP chairman Robert A. Maginn Jr.

Tisei is hoping to unseat US Representative John F. Tierney, whose image has been damaged by his wife's conviction on charges of tax fraud. Tisei's campaign is considered the best hope of Massachusetts Republicans this year to win a Congressional seat from the Democrats.


The Globe reported Tuesday that the state GOP is scheduled to consider dropping its existing issues statement in favor of the national platform which condemns same-sex marriage and calls for banning abortion with no exceptions, including cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.

The vote is on the agenda for a Thursday meeting of the ­Republican State Committee but could be tabled until after the November election.

In response to Tisei's letter, state Republican party spokesman Timothy Buckley said Wednesday: "The MassGOP is all about big ideas, and there is no shortage of opinions within the party. Ultimately, we all share one goal, which is electing more Republicans in ­November."

Senator Scott Brown, a ­Republican, objected to the strict antiabortion language in the national platform in August but did not respond to requests for comment on the state party's proposed platform change last week or yesterday.

The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund sent Brown a letter yesterday, criticizing him for remaining "on the sidelines as your local colleagues prepare to adopt" the national platform and for "failing to stand up for the women that you have promised to represent in the Senate."


A spokeswoman for Brown did not speak directly to the state committee vote on the platform, but issued a statement Wednesday night that ­reiterated that "Scott Brown is prochoice and has made it clear that he believes in an inclusive, big tent approach on the issue of abortion."

Brown faces a challenge from a well-financed Democrat, Elizabeth Warren, who, despite Brown's earlier outspokenness on the issue, has tried to use the national party's antiabortion stance to her advantage, particularly among female voters.

Some Republicans fear they would alienate the state party's conservatives, whose activism is needed this election season, if they defeat the national platform they are proposing. The current state GOP platform ­ignores same-sex marriage and abortion, focusing on tax cuts and limited government. ­Republicans have traditionally been successful in Massachusetts by running on socially moderate but fiscally conservative planks.

Tisei is following that model and plans a press conference Thursday introducing a "Democrats for Tisei" committee.

A former state Senate ­minority leader who served 26 years in the Legislature, Tisei noted in his letter that he has long supported abortion rights.

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