| On Thursday night I attended the MassGOP Debate in Lexington. I thought each candidate did an excellent job in explaining their platform and views, and many of the concerns I had were allayed - as well as some of my hopes strengthened. I'll start with some background on my perspective, then move into the candidates.
My first experience with Republican Politics was a as Chairman for the Bryant University Republicans in 2006. 2006-2007 were not great years for Republicans, but I kept the organization going and left people and resources in place, and now Bryant has one of the most active chapters in Rhode Island, and I thank my successors for doing that - I spent every week trying to get the message out and focusing on a new topic, and getting support from the RI College Republicans, but they did the recruiting after I had graduated.
I started getting active in Massachusetts Republican politics in 2010, volunteering for standouts with Dave Pottier when he ran for State Senate. I ran for School Committee in Taunton in 2011, though I didn't know what I was getting into and subsequently did not win. Ever since that time I have spent the months and years improving my political experience and expanding my knowledge base, becoming the Secretary of the Taunton Republican City Committee and moving campaign support upward and out of Taunton into the 4th Congressional District, volunteering and then eventually becoming the campaign manager for Dr. David Steinhof's primary campaign. I am now working on additional conservative electoral projects including assisting the Massachusetts Federation of Young Republicans, Massachusetts Conservative Assembly, and Bristol County Conservatives, as well as a run for City Council in Taunton this year.
Which brings me back to the debate. In all my experience as an activist, volunteer, and party committee member, I have met countless other activists across the right side of the political spectrum, from libertarians and tea partiers to hardcore conservatives and more moderate Republicans. The single biggest problem in our party now is that we waste resources on a witch hunt for ideology when we have a more glaringly obvious problem: Organization. We could not possibly have run more moderate, mainstream candidates in the past two election cycles than Charlie Baker and Scott Brown. They were beaten by far left ideologues and Democrat partisans. We are getting skunked on the ground game and our air game, flatly, doesn't exist.
We need a chair that will fix those problems, and will focus where our chair needs to focus, which is on a coordinated statewide air game that serves as a jammer to Democrat message hegemony and a Republican candidate recruitment and message amplification tool.
The single most important word in that debate was "2013." What are we going to do this year, now, to build a Republican brand and get our message out. Our party needs to be a constant presence, just like the Democratic Party.
After watching the debate here are my impressions of each of the candidates:
Rick Green has the most solid organizational experience owing to his establishment of MA Fiscal Alliance and his leadership in small business. I have no doubts if elected he will build the party that will have strength that lasts long after his promised 6 year commitment has ended. His contacts outside the party from MA Fiscal give him an additional pool of donors to tap and the fact he built the outreach organization that brought in those independent expenditures are skills critical in the role of chair.
I was initially wary of Kirsten Hughes because her website specifically mentions a women's initiative as a core plank, and my fears as an activist is that whenever we start breaking off "women's issues" from the Republican message we're balkanizing the party (one message for R-Men, one for R-Women, one for R-Latinos etc.), jettisoning the pro-lifers, and fruitlessly trying to court organizations like Planned Parenthood, which are demonstrably active and hostile arms of the Democratic Party. The words she used and her mannerisms have allayed that fear, and I do not think that is the case and should not affect anyone's vote. Hughes brings a massive amount of first-hand campaign and field experience with her and her knowledge of urban outreach and strategy are vital assets to the party. If elected chair, I think she would do an excellent job marshaling those connections and resources and develop an effective outreach strategy to voting blocks that are not traditionally Republican without compromising the message.
David D'Arcangelo has done an excellent job developing and implementing strategies for getting Republicans elected, and his election to City Council in Malden is proof of that. I think he got far too wrapped up in an infomercial for the New Mass Playbook, but I thought his ideas and explanations were sound. He has a very compelling story to tell about why people should be Republican and I think as chair he could tie the best bridge between message, messenger, and organization.
All three of these candidates have great strengths and also some skill set gaps, but there can be only one chair of the MassGOP. Chair requires not only a specific skill set but the ability to commit time and energy to the job. As I mentioned previously, I think the chair's primary duties are high-level, statewide air operations and amplification. They need to be able to put people in place to maximize message distribution and amplification across the entire state. They also need to be able to bring in the kind of money that obligation carries.
Based on these criteria, I endorse Rick Green for MA GOP Chairman. He has the contacts, focus, fundraising potential, and perspective relevant to the job, has no competing obligations to a particular geographic area as Hughes and D'Arcangelo do as duly elected municipal officials, and his skill set is the most relevant to the functions of the position. Rick Green will not be able to do the job alone, and I think a natural extension of Kirsten Hughes' abilities would be as a statewide field director where she can leverage her contacts and experience to locate and promote local candidates that can target non-traditional voting blocks. D'Arcangelo can also provide valuable insight into matching the message with the messenger in a more specialized training, strategy, and educational role. I don't know of a proper title for such a position, but it is the truth that the messenger can often matter as much as the message, and the message of Republicanism is a single message for all people - lower taxes, individual liberty, the sanctity and dignity of human life as the moral basis of all public policy, and adherence to constitutional principles limiting the power of the state over the individual. This is a positive message of respect, value, and liberation - but it does require someone who can make it relate to the voters on the ground, many of whom have been beaten into a meager existence of fear and dependence instead of a prosperous, self-made, actualizing life.
Thank you for your time and patience, and good luck to all three candidates for chair. My endorsement stands alone as my measured personal opinion. With utmost respect for all and malice toward none, I urge my State Committee Man and Woman - Mark Townsend and Kim Palmer, as well as Brock Cordeiro, the Region 5 chair to vote for Rick Green for Chairman at the upcoming vote on the 31st.
Secretary, Taunton Republican City Committee
4th District Director - Massachusetts Conservative Assembly