Hudak's Miracle Landing

Bill Hudak dropped out of the Republican race to take on Congressman John Tierney last month, but he is not finished providing us entertainment with his exploits.

As has been reported elsewhere today, Hudak sent a message to his email database announcing his new cause: a multi-level marketing scheme for the miracle elixirs of a company called Qivana.

Qivana's "Prime" system, Hudak writes, is blessed with myriad properties, from enhancing brain activity to eliminating obesity. You can see why Hudak is so excited, and why he wants to inform his fellow North Shore conservative activists about the webinars he will hold this week.

I'll leave it to others to dig further into the magic-beans aspect of this story. I'm more interested in why a man standing athwart the socialist tide would suddenly choose to step aside and let that tide roll on through -- and how a lawyer in Boxford, Massachusetts, became a marketer for an obscure Utah-based health-supplement company.

After all, the Massachusetts Republican Party badly wanted to get Hudak to drop out of that race, where he was poised to make trouble for their much stronger candidate, former state senator Richard Tisei.

And we know that the new chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, certified frend-of-Mitt-Romney Robert Maginn, has a habit of finding paychecks for helpful Republicans at his own company, Jenzabar -- including Joe Malone back in the day, and, since becoming MassGOP chair, Peter Torkildsen, Peter Blute, and Rob Willington.

And I couldn't help but notice that Hudak mentions that his new business partners "include Olympic Gold Medalists Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair." Jansen and Blair starred at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, which were run by Mitt Romney. Both Jansen and Blair have been openly supportive of Romney's Presidential endeavors at various times.

It also happens to be the case that many multi-level marketing companies are based in Utah, and some have been very helpful to Romney in the past. And indeed, it turns out that Qivana was founded by a group of fomer executives of a similar company, XanGo -- a huge backer of Mitt Romney's 2008 Presidential campaign. By my count, Xango executives and their families contributed roughly $75,000 to him -- plus some $30,000 to Romney's PACs.

Xango co-founder Gordon Morton was on Romney's 2008 national finance committee -- as was Maginn. In fact, Xango operated out of the same building in Lehi, Utah, as Sorenson Capital, the company of Romney right-hand-man Fraser Bullock, formerly of Bain Capital, where he worked with both Romney and Maginn.

But as it happens, the Xango team who founded Qivana were not among the Romney contributors of the 2008 cycle. And in fact, Morton and the core Xango team appear to have abandoned Romney in his 2012 campaign. (At least, through the end of 2011; it's possible that they have or will support him again now that former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is out of the race.)

Tisei insists, emphatically, that he had nothing to do with Hudak getting the Qivana gig, and has no knowledge of anybody else being involved in it. "Absolutely not -- I know nothing about it," Tisei says. "I should be so lucky as to have friends who could get him to drop out."

Indeed, Hudak did not exit like a man paid off by Tisei; in announcing the suspension of his campaign, Hudak took to the radio and sent out an email blasting Tisei.

Hudak -- who has not yet returned my call from this morning -- most likely gave up the campaign due to raising a paltry $50,000 last year, while Tisei pulled in $300,000 in just a few weeks after launching his campaign. Perhaps not coincidentally, Hudak had compiled close to $20,000 cash on hand when he dropped out -- just shy of the $22,000 in obligations his campaign owed to get out of the red.

It remains an intriguing coincidence that Hudak so quickly hooked up with a company with strong Romney connections. It may in fact be just a coincidence. Or, perhaps, evidence of a Qivana miracle at work.

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