Critical Race Looms for Republican Party Chair
By Nicolas Sanchez, PhD
I have heard that there are only 14 (out of 80) State Committee men and women who have yet to decide who to choose as Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party.
The rest of us also have to make a decision, for our participation and enthusiasm in party campaigns is at stake. Two candidates are left standing: Rick Green, a businessman, and Kirsten Hughes, a lawyer. The first one wants to build the party as a business organization, run by professional people; the second wants to build the party with good candidates, going so far as to say, "Our candidates are not quality candidates"-a statement she made in their second debate.
No One is Perfect
Both candidates are young and as a result, lack gravitas. This is especially true of Ms. Hughes, who does not mention her career in the entertainment world. She was a nightclub singer and also a performer for the Walt Disney Company, playing the role of Princess Ariel in "The Little Mermaid." This may attract a lot of young women to the party, but most important a lot of moms who want their daughters to learn from Ms. Hughes-especially when those daughters' entertainment careers fail.
Mr. Green also lacks gravitas, for which he makes up with his success as a businessman-starting out from a $15,000 investment that he turned into a multimillion dollar enterprise. He is unwilling to take positions on Republican issues, arguing that the role of the Chair is one of organizing the party when, in fact, the party is in desperate need of political direction. While Ms. Hughes antagonizes candidates who put their hearts and soul into the previous campaign, Mr. Green may be antagonizing everyone by being neutral on the issues of the day.
We Have to Choose Wisely
Yet we all need to make a decision, and I have decided to support Mr. Green. Ms. Hughes played the gender card in the first debate, stating that the party was perceived as the party of rich white men-rather than giving credit to the party for advancing the role of women within the party. State Committee persons are elected males and females in equal numbers. This is nothing else but a quota, by a party that supposedly rejects quotas.
I like Mr. Green's promise of establishing five field offices and enlarging not only the base of registered Republicans, but also enlarging the donor base. In a recent summit in Washington, Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin and survivor of a recall, noted that in his last election 70 percent of all his donors had given $50 or less to his campaign. If Mr. Green can duplicate this feat, he would be a hero for the Republican Party.
Mr. Green is committed to listening to all of us. I attended a Tea Party event in Northborough where people were angry at him for not taking policy positions. Yet he never lost his composure and told the crowd that he was there to listen to them. Ms. Hughes was invited to the same event but was a no-show.
Mr. Green is proud to be well-off, because he started with very little capital and truly built the business that he owns with the help of his brother. This experience will be appreciated by many members of minority groups, who often are forced by circumstances to create their own businesses, where they can escape discrimination. Minorities, on the other hand, are not likely to be enthralled by those who play "The Little Mermaid" (coming soon to theaters as a 3-D movie). This is a Danish tale by Hans Christian Andersen, in which minorities are unlikely to play any parts.
Need to Attract Minorities
Are Republicans really serious about attracting minorities? Are you better off as a Republican today than two years ago? I doubt it. Mr. Green has promised a minimum of six years as Chair of the party, whereas Ms. Hughes has not made a similar commitment. We need this stability to rebuild the party. If Mr. Brown were to regain his Senate seat in Washington, I bet Ms. Hughes will go there with him.
But Both Deserve Thanks
I wish both Mr. Green and Ms. Hughes the best in this upcoming election. Sometimes candidates are not fully aware of what they are getting into-especially if they win. I suspect that Mr. Green will end up poorer from this experience, given his promise to be a net donor to the Republican Party. I also suspect that Ms. Hughes will be very disappointed if her candidate for the Senate, Scott Brown, suffers defeat once again at the hands of voters. However, both of them should be thanked for making serious efforts to become party chairs.
Dr. Sanchez is Vice Chair of the Framingham Republican Town Committee. Please call your State Committee man and woman to express your views.
Published by Xtra Xtra Framingham on January 29, 2013; you can read other articles about this race at