Saturday, November 8, 2008

Farm Team

Politics magazine in DC had this blurb about the MassGOP building the farm team at the municipal level.   It was written before the horrific election as they noted we had 19 seats in the House.  If you would like to run for office or if you know someone that would be a great candidate please email us at

Robert Willingham has a tough job. How do you promote the GOP in a state with an almost uninterrupted history of electing “Massachusetts liberals”?
“In Massachusetts, the Republican Party is surely in a peculiar position next to other parties,” says Willington, executive director of the Massachusetts Republican Party. “We don’t even hold a statewide office, we don’t have anything.”
Aside from a recent red hiccup with former Gov. Mitt Romney, the Bay State has nearly always been straight blue. Even the state house tilts blue: only five of the 40 state senators and 19 of the 160 state representatives are Republican.
So about two years ago, Willington started working on what he calls the GOP’s “farm team.” He’s training candidates in smaller municipal races like school committee and mayor, even candidates who usually don’t get party support because they’re officially running as nonpartisans. Willington teaches his candidates how to use tools—like his party’s Voter Vault—usually reserved for bigger elections. “A lot of Republicans have been winning [these nonpartisan races],” he says. “It’s just been under the radar.”
One of the success stories is Adam Lamontagne, Ward 1 representative in Chicopee, the second largest city in Western Massachusetts. Elected at only 21, he’s part of a wave of young officeholders that Willington hopes will claim bigger offices down the road.
“We’re building the bench,” he says, “so we have a stronger minor league team to take to the big leagues.”

—Abigail Shaha