As national Republicans descend on Boston this week for their national committee’s summer meeting, they are greeted by one of the country’s tiniest GOP chapters.
Just 33 Republicans in a 200-member state Legislature. No statewide officeholders. Zero presence in the state’s Washington delegation.
But for Kirsten Hughes, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, the time for a Republican resurgence is now. Hughes said the newly imposed tax hikes—on gasoline, tobacco, and software services—have fueled levels of local candidate volunteerism that are “unprecedented” in her nine years in various roles with the party.
And she offered a preview of the argument Republicans will make in 2014 as they look to expand their minuscule presence in the state Legislature and erode the Democrats’ vise grip on constitutional and federal offices.
“This resurgence of Massachusetts as a ‘Taxachusetts’ state is really fertile ground for people to want to run against,” Hughes said Wednesdsay during an interview at the Republican National Committee meeting at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. “Republicans here in Massachusetts have a positive message of: We want to leave something to our children and grandchildren. We want to have businesses start here and keep our families here. We’re offering an alternative to this tax-and-spend nightmare that we seem to be stuck in thanks to Democratic one-party rule.”
State Republican leaders are developing strategy for how best to piece together a 2014 ticket. Former Senator Scott Brown has sent mixed signals about his plans. Several top Republicans say they do not expect Brown to run for governor, and that they expect Charles D. Baker Jr. to run instead.
Asked about potential statewide candidates, Hughes first balked, then named Baker and former US Senate nominee Gabriel E. Gomez, then referenced unnamed candidates from the state Legislature.
Hughes laughed when asked whether her name would appear on the ballot.
“That’s a good question,” she said.