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GOP Senate candidate staying put in race to challenge Warren

Beth J. Lindstrom.

Steven Senne/AP/file 2002

Beth J. Lindstrom.

To the chagrin of the party establishment, Republican party veteran and former state official Beth Lindstrom is staying in the race for the GOP US Senate nomination. She’s not moving into the race for the Third District that US Representative Niki Tsongas is vacating.

Lindstrom announced her US Senate candidacy last month. But then this week Ellen Murphy Meehan — the ex-wife of former congressman Martin T. Meehan — decided not to seek the Merrimack Valley-based seat. Many local political observers see the Third District as an increasingly light shade of blue, so the decision by Murphy Meehan, a Democrat, stirred up some interest in GOP circles who have some glimmer of hope for picking up that seat.

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But Lindstrom isn’t changing races, party sources said, and now the heavy odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination is Rick Green, the wealthy Pepperell business who has been at odds with the current party’s insiders and loyalists to Governor Charlie Baker.

Green’s right-leaning positions could add to Baker’s serious discomfort in 2018 if state Representative Geoff Diehl, a strong Trump backer, wins the US Senate nomination.

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The presence of Diehl on the statewide ticket with Baker and with Green carrying the GOP banner in Third District — a race that is shaping up to be a barnburner — would only further frustrate the governor’s strategy to project a moderate image in his own race.

Meanwhile, Green is showing he is serious about launching a campaign: he has hired veteran GOP political consulant, Dante Vitagliano, whose career has centered on working in New England. Vitagliano worked last year with Green during the presidential primary on Ohio Governor John Kasich’s campaign.

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