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New Massachusetts GOP chair Amy Carnevale looks to rebuild the party from the ground up

Amy Carnevale speaks to reporters shortly after defeating Jim Lyons to become chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party (Steve Brown/WBUR)
Amy Carnevale speaks to reporters shortly after defeating Jim Lyons to become chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party (Steve Brown/WBUR)

Just one month on the job, newly elected MassGOP Chair Amy Carnevale said she's encouraged by the future, but is still sorting out the financial predicament the party finds itself in.

"I've been really encouraged by grassroots Republicans, Republican town committees, maybe Republicans who have stood on the sidelines in the past over the past couple of years, who are re-energized and ready to get back to support the party," Carnevale said Tuesday during an interview on WBUR's Radio Boston.

She admitted the party's finances are in worse shape than she originally thought.

"I did come into the position knowing we were about $100,000 in debt. That was my assumption," Carnevale said, only to later discover the party had invoices totaling $602,000. "That was a big surprise. Nobody expected that."

Carnevale replaced former State Rep. Jim Lyons after committee members narrowly ousted him in January. Disgruntled party members cited a lack of victories in last November's election, and questionable expenditures by Lyons in support of defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl.

Carnevale acknowledged there are pending investigations into possible campaign finance violations during Lyons' tenure. Even though Lyons is no longer chair, Carnevale said the party could still be held accountable for his spending.

"There could be fines coming from OCPF [Office of Campaign and Political Finance] as a result of those investigations. So it remains a concern for me and a priority for me to address those," she said.

The most recent filing with OCPF shows the party with a paltry $47,000 in the bank, though Carnevale expects contributions will pick up.

"We have started to raise money. Our first big event is planned next week and you'll see much more money come in over the next month," said Carnevale.

In what may be an attempt to extend an olive branch to supporters of the Charlie Baker wing of the party, Carnevale said she has named Mike Kennealy, the former governor's housing and economic development secretary, as the party's new finance chair.

As for future elections, Carnevale said she's working on recruiting Republicans to run for office, including someone to challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren who's up for reelection next year. She's also focused on finding municipal candidates but admitted the party is running behind schedule.

"That's actually my goal," said Carnevale. "To be as a party less in the news, and you hear directly from candidates."

This segment aired on February 28, 2023.

Rob Lane Twitter Producer
Rob Lane is a producer for Radio Boston.


Tiziana Dearing Twitter Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.


Steve Brown Twitter Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.



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