Who wins in a Baker vs. Mihos primary, and will the process help or
hurt the eventual nominee? Do you think there is any wisdom in newly
elected MassGOP Chair Jennifer Nassour's strategy to avoid the social
issues, and grant interviews to Bay Windows?
On the first question, I think Baker would win, although it could be interesting -- and I think having a contested primary would be great for the winner, particularly if it's Baker (who remains largely an unknown quantity to voters), because it would force attention onto him during a time when he would otherwise struggle to get any coverage.
I do think it's smart for the party to shift away from emphasizing gay marriage -- and send signals that this is a more big-tent party now. This is actually an opportune time to make the shift, because they should be able to get everybody in the party together on trying to catch the anti-Beacon-Hill wave, which has nothing whatsoever to do with gays and God and guns. (From what I understand, that's proving a tough sell among some of the party.)
I also happen to think that the party can raise more money once they move that stuff to the back burner. Most of the financial and real estate industry folks who gave heavily during the Romney era never wanted to be linked with the gay-bashing. That was something that Romney sprung on them, and they stuck with him as their chosen horse, but once he was gone, they drifted off. My early sense is that Nassour can, given a little time, rebuild the fundraising network, but only if the party lets go of the social issues.