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Head of Mass. GOP to give up post in Oct.

Family grows as ’12 races gear up

By Glen Johnson
Globe Staff / September 20, 2011

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Jennifer Nassour, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, is stepping down as she prepares to have a third child.

In an e-mail yesterday to members of the Republican State Committee, Nassour wrote: “We are thrilled beyond words and our daughters are incredibly excited. We are also mindful of the additional responsibility in our already busy lives.’’

She said she will resign effective Oct. 28. The mother of two daughters, ages 8 and 5, is expecting her third child in February.

Nassour, a lawyer who lives in Charlestown, campaigned to be chairwoman in late 2008 and took over in 2009, navigating a split between one faction loyal to former governors William F. Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Jane Swift, and another loyal to Mitt Romney, also a former governor.

She presided over a party resurgence that brought Scott Brown’s upset win in the January 2010 special election to replace the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a doubling of House Republican membership in last fall’s state elections.

“I wanted to run, originally, because the party really needed a face lift and some new energy, and I think I succeeded,’’ Nassour said.

“We have no debt, a good reputation, and we’ve always tried to greet everyone with an open door, whether they are candidates, the press, or members of the party,’’ she said.

The resignation comes as the state GOP gears up for Brown’s reelection campaign. At least six Democrats, including Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, have announced they will seek the Democratic Senate nomination.

“The 2012 election year is going to require the party to have a chairman who is focused on the job and able to commit to the long hours of fund-raising and campaigning,’’ Nassour wrote. “However, family must come first. It is my preference to focus on my family and give someone else the opportunity to lead our party through the upcoming election year. By making a change of leadership in 2011, we give a new chairman the time to get up to speed and lead us to victory in 2012.’’

Among those mentioned as a possible successor is Mary Connaughton, who narrowly lost an election for state auditor in 2010.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.