To answer Larry’s question, I think the reason Peter Torkildsen was Rommey’s choice — and the choice of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee — was that he was the only person running with experience winning elections and a significant base of political support.
Torkildsen upset an incumbent Democrat to win a seat in the state legislature in 1984. He beat a scandal-tainted incumbent Democrat to win a congressional seat in 1992 while Bill Clinton was racking up huge margins in Massachusetts. Torkildsen held onto his seat in 1994 and only narrowly lost it 1996; he ran a competitive but unsuccessful race to win it back in 1998. Not the greatest electoral record, but a decent one in a state where the Republican bench just isn’t that deep.
That said, the Prowler is undeniably right about Romney’s failure to build the Republican Party in Massachusetts. I argued last year that this would be an early test for Romney and his lack of success tells against him. My view is that Romney tried to build up the party in 2002 and 2004 but failed and seems to have lost interest in 2006, but I have not lived in the Bay State since early 2004, so my perceptions could be a little off.
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