As I'm sure you know, this entire state is abuzz over one topic: the battle for new leadership of the state Republican Party. With state party chair Peter Torkildsen choosing not to seek another two years, and Lew Evangelidis trying to replace Brad Jones as House Minority Leader, you can just sense people all over the Bay State asking themselves: "Really? There's a state Republican Party?"
The Evangelidis-Jones duel will be worked out today, but the chairmanship battle goes on. So, for the public benefit, I offer the following list of questions for anyone seeking that office.
1) In 2004, party chair Darrell Crate put up a huge slate of candidates for legislative races. In 2008, Torkildsen touted a "quality over quantity" approach with fewer, targeted candidates. Both were equally successful. Do you favor the Crate strategy for losing seats, or the Torkildsen strategy for losing seats?
2) With a governor's race and perhaps a US Senate race coming up, what would you do as chairman to ensure that Kerry Healey does not get one of these high-profile GOP nominations?
3) How many people at AMG, Fidelity, and Bain Capital would personally return a phone call from you? If the number is below 40, what is your alternative plan to fund the state party?
4) In 2004, the state party said that its losses were due to a "Kerry wave." In 2006 it was an "anti-Iraq War wave," and in 2008 an "Obama wave." As chairman, what wave will you blame the 2010 election results on?
5) In your analysis, how many Democratic legislators must be actively under indictment or ethics investigation for the Republican Party to gain seats in an election?
6) Looking at the 2010 statewide elective offices other than governor, what are the MassGOP's chances of getting more votes than third-party candidates this time?
7) Mitt Romney moved the MassGOP offices into downtown Boston when he took office. Now that there is no Republican administration to be close to, and no vast sums of money to waste, should the party relocate its headquarters to a less expensive and more politically welcoming location? If so, what state do you have in mind?
8) Some local bloggers are suggesting the state GOP try to separate from the national Republican "brand" by changing its name. Which of the following would you choose? A) Remain "Republicans" and go down with the national ship. B) Change slightly, to something like "Independent Republicans." C) Change completely, to something like "The Fantasticks!" D) Change to "Demorcatic Party" in hopes of getting votes by accident. E) Close up shop completely for several years while the national GOP collapses, and then re-emerge with a "Retro-Republican" brand.