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Kirsten Hughes claims enough support for state GOP chairmanship

Kirsten HughesJessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/File/Boston Globe

When the presidential election began to trend toward Donald Trump Tuesday night, Kirsten Hughes, the state GOP chairwoman who is fighting to get re-elected to the post in January, moved quickly to seal the deal on another term.

Hughes, who is part of Governor Charlie Baker’s gang that has taken control of the Republican Party’s operations, immediately began rounding up the final votes to get to the necessary 41 commitments on the 80-member party’s state committee. Within a day or so, she said, she had what she needed.

“I am publishing 41 names later today, a majority of the committee,’’ Hughes said Thursday.

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Hughes, who is also president of the Quincy City Council, never came out against Trump and says she voted for him on Election Day.

But she distanced herself from him after the release of a recording in which he bragged about groping women. That slight of her party’s controversial candidate — and the fact she is the favored candidate of a governor who refused to vote for or endorse Trump — could have put her in some jeopardy with the Trump political operation.

But her quick move headed off any potential problems before the president-elect’s folks got organized enough to be interested in who heads the Massachusetts party.

Her apparent ability to get a majority two months before the vote is not stopping her only rival, GOP state committeeman Steve Aylward, a Trump loyalist, from continuing his campaign to get chairmanship.

“The state committee would be remiss if they just committed to a candidate without hearing the ideas and debates that I want to bring forward,’’ Aylward said.

He noted the party did little if anything to promote Trump’s candidacy.


Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.