Longtime Republican operative Beth Lindstrom will launch her US Senate campaign on Monday, promising not to hew to the party line and using the occasion to criticize President Trump for his comments in the wake of recent violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Lindstrom joins a growing field of Republicans intent on challenging Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren, and her break with Trump comes as increasing numbers of national Republicans are becoming more outspokenly critical of the GOP leader.
Lindstrom’s approach appears to align her with the brand of Massachusetts Republicanism that, historically, has been markedly more moderate than the national party.
“As an independent-minded Republican, I will oppose President Trump when he’s wrong,” Lindstrom said in a press release. “His response to what happened in Charlottesville should have encouraged the people of this country with a message of zero tolerance for ethnic or racial prejudice. This is not an occasion for equivocation or evasion. Let me be clear: the hatred spewed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis is ugly and bigoted.”
Promising “a more formal announcement” in the fall, Lindstrom tells viewers of a Web video released Monday, “I want you to know, I’m all in.”
The Charlottesville strike, which resulted in three deaths, was sparked when counter-protesters and a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis clashed. A “free speech” rally in Boston on Saturday had stirred fears of similar results, but it was largely peaceful.
In a two-minute online video, Lindstrom, who was consumer affairs and business regulation chief under then-governor Mitt Romney, offers an affable, seemingly centrist approach.
“Some days I look at what’s happening in Washington and I just shake my head,” Lindstrom says on camera. “The politicians like to think the problem is all on the other side, but the truth is, there’s plenty of blame to go around.”
Lindstrom will be at least the fourth Republican candidate actively campaigning or moving toward a run against Warren. All the others are men: Shiva Ayyadurai, state Representative Geoff Diehl, and businessman John Kingston.
Both Kingston and Lindstrom have staked out more moderate, GOP establishment turf, while Diehl and Ayyadurai have sought populist approaches and voiced backing for Trump.
Lindstrom has assembled a campaign team with Romney ties and presidential-level campaign experience.
“During the course of the campaign, you will see Beth say when the president is right, and when he’s wrong,” senior adviser Gail Gitcho said. “Beth is her own kind of Republican and she will speak her views freely. She doesn’t answer to the White House or Washington. She will answer to the people of Massachusetts.”
The Groton resident was executive director of the state lottery in the 1990s and was the first female executive director of the state Republican Party. She was former US senator Scott P. Brown’s campaign manager during his stunning 2010 special-election victory.
In 2014, Lindstrom led Commonwealth Future, a super PAC supporting Charlie Baker.
The Center for Public Integrity reports that the group received most of its funding from the Republican Governors Association, spending $7.6 million on television ads, of which $4.8 million targeted the Democratic nominee, Martha Coakley, with negative ads.
Next year’s Senate campaign could become a nationally watched race, as Warren is an icon on the Democratic left and something of a bogeyman to the right.