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Election over, but the GOP bloodletting may continue

The GOP’s elections are over, Governor Charlie Baker has won — and the bloodletting will likely continue. The biggest change may involve the much-coveted post of Republican national committeewoman.

That’s the position Chanel Prunier, a Worcester County GOP conservative leader, won in 2013 — with the critical help of then-gubernatorial candidate Baker who was courting the state Republicans’ Tea Party-leaning bloc.

At the time, the GOP’s veteran national committeeman Ron Kaufman, a moderate with close ties to the Bush family, was working to block Prunier’s intra-party maneuvering to be national committeewoman. Baker got Kaufman to back off.

But in recent months, Prunier worked directly against Baker. As he used Tuesday’s state committee elections to try to consolidate his grip on the state party apparatus, she was helping to get anti-Baker candidates elected to the committee.

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In addition, she wrote an article for a conservative blog in December, suggesting Baker should be more like his Democratic predecessor, Deval Patrick — a move that did not go over well among Baker allies.

The newly elected Baker-controlled state committee meets April 2, when it will elect its male and female national committtee members.

Prunier was diplomatic this week. “I am focused on moving forward and working with everyone who was elected yesterday to continue to build the Republican Party,’’ she said. “The results ... indicate the state committee remains very divided and the most important task now is to put the contests behind us and look to the 2016 elections against the Democrats.”

Baker’s folks, believing they have kicked the hard-right conservatives to the curb, think the nasty fight has all been worthwhile. Now the party will be far less unwieldy and more reflective of Baker’s more moderate image and ideology.


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