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MassGOP picks Carnevale to steer party’s future as chair



By Chris Lisinski and Michael P. Norton

FEB. 1, 2023…..Massachusetts Republicans nearly stuck with party chairman Jim Lyons for another two-year term, despite disastrous election results over his four-year tenure, but instead narrowly decided Tuesday night to give Amy Carnevale a shot at running the shrinking party.

Members of the Republican State Committee voted 37-34 to pick Carnevale as the MassGOP’s next top leader, placing the job of restoring the Grand Old Party’s diminished influence on Beacon Hill and among voters in the hands of a longtime lobbyist and former Capitol Hill staffer.

Republicans needed two rounds of voting to make a final decision after no candidate earned the needed 37 votes on the first ballot, according to POLITICO, a reflection of the tense fight that had played out in the weeks and months leading up to the leadership shuffle.

“Congratulations are in order for the newest chair of the party, Amy @CarnevaleMHD!” the official MassGOP account tweeted Tuesday night. “Best of luck to Amy, a very capable leader, who will work to unite the MassGOP!”

The vote boots Lyons, a former state representative and conservative hard-liner, from the party chair role after a four-year stint during which he repeatedly clashed with popular moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and fellow state committee members.

In that span, the Republican super-minority in the House and Senate shrunk even smaller, the party’s finances fell into disarray, and Democrats seized back the corner office with the election of Gov. Maura Healey, giving them trifecta control atop Beacon Hill.

Carnevale spent a decade working for former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, a Washington Republican who entered office in 1995 after unseating House Speaker Tom Foley, eventually as his chief of staff.

Since 2005, she has worked in both state and federal government affairs for K&L Gates, an influential firm, according to her LinkedIn. Baker appointed Carnevale to the Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability in 2017.

The Boston Globe reported that Carnevale pitched fellow state committee members Tuesday on rebuilding and professionalizing the party’s operations.

“By every metric, we are failing,” Carnevale said, according to the Globe. “For the sake of the conservative policies we advocate, our remaining officeholders, members of our party, and future candidates, we need a fresh start.”

Like Lyons, who made his vocal and repeated support of former President Donald Trump a central theme of his chairmanship, Carnevale was a backer of the Republican president. She helped campaign for Trump in 2016 and praised him during his time in office.

She condemned the violent Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s election, calling the intrusion “a serious crime” and arguing that Trump “should have made absolutely clear that he was committed to the orderly transfer of power.”

Carnevale criticized Lyons’s approach as chair, telling talk show personality Howie Carr in December that he was “a distraction to Republicans running for office and a hindrance to raising money.”

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