The Spectacle Blog

Torkildsen Elected

By on 1.17.07 | 8:22AM

Last night former Rep. Peter Torkildsen was elected interim Massachusetts Republican Party chair. Torkildsen, who served in the administration of Gov. Mitt Romney as director of federal, state, and local work force relations, is a liberal Republican and was backed by Romney for this job.

In addressing Lawrence Henry's point about building up the party made below, we'd point out this: the Republican Party was not a strong entity when Romney was elected governor. It stands today after four years of his stewardship even weaker than before, which for many conservatives should be taken as an indictment of Romney's leadership.

How is it that a state like Massachusetts could have an sitting governor who so obvisouly did nothing to build up the party's ranks on local levels? How is that a governor could claim to want to lead a national party, and yet leave that party's state entity virtually powerless to compete politically? According to some Bay State Republicans we talked to, the party failed to mount a competitive challenge to 60 percent of state legislature seats. And there are those who feel the statewide candidates were less than desirable. It isn't as if the party hasn't had successes statewide in the past decade. In fact, the GOP has. And no doubt, given the political history of the state, the Republican state party there would probably have to be a bit more moderate on some issues. But to have the party in such tatters in the wake of a governor who was early into his administration a popular figure is more a commentary on the governor than on the party regulars.

That is a stunning indictment of Romney's stewardship of the party. Torkildsen is on the record as saying he wants to build up the local ranks. Too bad the guy who got him his job wasn't able to start that process four years ago.

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