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Massachusetts Republicans want Joe Kennedy to switch to their party and run for Secretary of State

Emailed by Ben to

Dear IPR, this caught my attention. Please use as you see fit:

Massachusetts Republicans are asking Joe Kennedy to join the GOP and run for Secretary of State. This is from Red Mass Group, the main blog for MA Republicans.

Dear Joe Kennedy, Please Run for Secretary of State

The current Secretary of State, Galvin, tried to keep Bob Barr off the ballot in 2008. (He wanted to place on the ballot a losing candidate for the LP Presidential nomination)

Barr Wins Massachusetts Substitution Case


  1. Austin Battenberg Austin Battenberg January 29, 2010

    This whole idea of a “safe” seat seams like a cop out…people should really try to beat ANY incumbent. Throw them all out. I live in California, but I’m represented by a Republican who is in a rather conservative district. No one is running against him either…not even a Democrat. Mayhaps a libertarian could run as a Democrat?

    It’s a shame that people are suckered into voting for incumbents and the two major parties. What a joke.

  2. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman January 28, 2010

    Austin @ 24 – Bob Conley was more a populist than a libertarian. After he won the Democrat primary, the Democrat organization refused to support him.

    In California, Democrats are very powerful, and have an organizational control over the nomination that it would be hard for a libertarian to overcome.

    That said, most libertarians who receive Republican nominations are running in safe Democrat districts, so the Republicans are lucky even to have a nominee.

    In his first run in 1974, Ron Paul was planning to run as an Independent, but the local Republican group approached him and said they did not have a candidate, and he could have the nomination if he wanted. The district was represented by a “conservative” Democrat who beat Ron soundly (72% to 28%) but after the incumbent was appointed to a federal position, Ron Paul won in the special election.

  3. Ben Ben January 28, 2010

    Austin, I don’t disagree with you, but I’d just point out that in MA, the situation is effectively the reverse of SC. Because the Dems usually win (except for Governor), their primary is usually very competitive and attracts many good candidates. Our Democratic primaries are generally harder to win than the general election (where the Dem almost always wins). So it would probably be an even harder race for Joe to win and he would have significantly less time to campaign for it.

  4. Austin Battenberg Austin Battenberg January 28, 2010

    @16 Mike Rossettie

    I have to disagree. I believe it is possible to get libertarian candidates within the Democratic Party.

    There are a number of ways you could do it, and it all depends on where you run. Remember, a Ron Paul DEMOCRAT ran against Lindsey Graham in 2008. Bob Conley had all the posistions of Ron Paul (which is not full libertarianism…but is pretty close). He left the Republican Party because of Bush and how authortarian it had become. He ran in the primary in South Carolina against regular Democrats…and WON. Granted, he couldn’t beat Graham…but incumbents usually win….but he could run again, and win in the future.

    Also…if your in a highly liberal state like California or Vermont….just focus on social issues and foreign policy (if your anti-war), and as long as your articulate and can speak the language (I believe in health care by introducing free market solutions…etc), I think it is possible that you could win a Democratic primary.

    It’s all speculation though….but yea, I think it would be wise to infiltrate both parties if one decides not to run as a Libertarian.

  5. paulie paulie January 28, 2010

    People voted on healthcare, taxes, national security an so on.

    Yeah, and Brown sucks on all those issues as well…

  6. Sean Scallon Sean Scallon January 28, 2010

    The key is to use the party, not to let the party use you.

    Even you are running on the Republican line, one can craft a campaign that is a broad banner of independent political groups who, if they decide to, can put their activists to work for you (LP, CP and so forth). I like the term “Liberty Republican” or “Independent Republican”. In Minnesota, the party was known for years as “Independent Republican.” That way you can draw in support from outside the GOP label, especially in states where the party structure is weak like Massachusetts.

  7. Ralph Ralph January 27, 2010

    I’ve heard that song before. So I wish him caution and luck.

  8. Ben Ben January 27, 2010

    Ralph, the editors of “Red Mass Group” have only promised to “endorse and support” Kennedy if he chooses to run. That doesn’t sound like a “pie in the sky” offer to me. No one is promising him big bucks funding, much less a successful outcome. Indeed, I would put Kennedy’s chances at less than 50%, even in a big GOP year (the GOP hasn’t held this spot in a long time). This offer also becomes somewhat less impressive when you consider that the GOP doesn’t currently have a candidate for Secretary of State.

    If he wants to be appointed to a board, running for Secretary of State to fill-out the GOP ticket would be the clearest way to “earn” such a position (assuming Charlie Baker becomes governor).

  9. Ralph Ralph January 27, 2010

    The GOPs always make these pie in the sky offers. They get you to leave and leave you hanging.

    What has worked is asking instead to be appointed to a high profile advisory board, perhaps a task force of efficiency.

    That’s what I would advise Mr. Kennedy to consider.

  10. Ben Ben January 27, 2010

    Sean, I agree with your sentiment, but just to clarify: In MA you can only run under the party you are registered to vote as. While it is possible under MA law to run under multiple party labels, it would be difficult to execute in practice (he would have to get 5,000 write-in votes in the GOP primary). Actually, given the expense of getting on the ballot as a “Libertarian”, there may be a financial benefit to making use of Kennedy’s ersatz “Liberty” party label. I think it may then be possible to run as a “Liberty Republican” if he gets those 5,000 write-in votes in the GOP primary.

    Of course, nothing would prevent Kennedy from registering Republican while continuing as a card-carrying Libertarian. Lots of Republicans do this.

  11. Sean Scallon Sean Scallon January 27, 2010

    I would tell the state GOP that would accept your nomination for Sec. of State if you allow me to stay a member of the Libertarian Party and unenrolled in state elections. If you let me keep my independence and don’t just another flunkie or drone, I’ll be happy to add your label to the others I keep.

  12. Mike Rossettie Mike Rossettie January 26, 2010

    If you want to try and run libertarian candidates in the Democratic party be my guest. Unfortunately they will be dead on arrival and have no chance to win a nomination.

    The Republican Party is the only avenue for liberty candidates to receive a major party endorsement and achieve an election victory.

    People voted to elect Scott Brown because most people do not vote on the issue of marijuana. That is a single issue, and an issue most people do not prioritize. People voted on healthcare, taxes, national security an so on.

  13. Third Party Revolution Third Party Revolution January 26, 2010

    Why just the Republican Party? Shouldn’t you at least try your experiments with the Democratic Party?

  14. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman January 26, 2010

    Libertarianism is a philosophical movement before it is a political party.

    We need to build The Libertarian Party and similar groups outside the two party system because both parties are dominated by pro-government special interest groups.

    But if a libertarian can win a Republican primary and run a pro-freedom campaign, it is a legitimate strategy for building the freedom movement.

  15. Steve Steve January 26, 2010

    Trent – I thought many of the Ron Paul Republican candidates seemed like great candidates. Even mainstream Republican talk show hosts were starting to promote BJ Lawson in the closing days of his race. The main problem was most of them running in heavily Democrat districts.

    If a person can run and win as a Republican, like Rand Paul may very well do, then go for it.

    Gene – I agree, districts that go unchallenged or where one party is weak seem like ideal places for third party building.

    I’m still scratching my head a bit over Joe Kennedy. How can an electorate that votes in marijuana decriminalization and nearly eliminates the income tax turn around and fall for Scott Brown. And how many Republicans who were issuing death threats to Mr. Kennedy a few weeks ago are going to turn around and back him for state office? That’s quite a swing.

  16. Third Party Revolution Third Party Revolution January 26, 2010

    Red Mass Group, not the Modern Whig Party, is a joke. You really think that you can bring liberty into a party that has brought into existence the Patriot Act and an increase in wiretapping?

  17. Mike Rossettie Mike Rossettie January 26, 2010

    Thanks for the link! I am one of the editors at Red Mass Group asking Joe to join us as a Republican.

    We like Joe Kennedy. He has a strong message of fiscal conservatism, and open, limited constitutional government that I share. Only as Republican does Joe have a chance of winning.

    If he runs for Secretary of State he will give the liberty movement a chance to untied behind a statewide nominee. The GOP does not currently have a candidate for that office. This gives Joe a unique opportunity to begin campaigning as a Republican nominee with a general election strategy from day 1.

  18. Trent Hill Trent Hill January 26, 2010

    “But the argument that libertarian running as Republican = victory isn’t that clear cut. I have a foot in both parties, so I watched with interest the Ron Paul Republican candidates across the country in 2008, but they did about as well as the usual Libertarian who runs in a 2 way race.”

    2008 was a horrible year for Republicans in general and the Ron Paul people didnt recruit suitable candidates. A simple look at Rand Paul, RJ Harris, and Debra Medina in 2010 proves your point wrong. Rand Paul, if the election were held tomorrow, would be a US Senator. RJ Harris is polling only single digits behind an incumbent congressman. Debra Medina is polling 12% for the Governor’s race (Republican Primary)–and she’s up against an incumbent governor and a sitting Senator. Bob Hedlund is about to declare his intention to run for MA-10, in which he will likely win. This is headway the Libertarians have never made.

    Also, the Ron Paul Republicans can claim State Reps, State Senators, and even statewide elected officials amongst their ranks.

  19. Ben Ben January 25, 2010

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Joe Kennedy run with the GOP. Although I’m a registered Libertarian, I have no problem supporting card-carrying Libertarians like Ron Paul, who choose to work within the GOP.

    Sure, it doesn’t help the third party movement, but it’s tough to win as a third party guy. Probably for this reason, Libertarian Kamal Jain appears to have switched to the GOP to take another crack at becoming Auditor in MA (it’s an open seat, but he has a strong GOP opponent):

    If a GOP sweep brings two bona fide Libertarians into statewide executive office in MA, that would be huge. The Secretary of State is surprisingly powerful in MA (the current one took the lead in going after the tobacco companies). Both Kennedy and Jain would have a real watchdog role over the state government that would not be wasted.

  20. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman January 25, 2010

    Steve @ # 5 makes a good point. Most of the Ron Paul Republican candidates in 2008 did little better than a Libertarian would in a two way race.

    Perhaps we need to recruit more candidates in races where one major party takes a pass.

    And certainly we should not think that getting a major party nomination is a guarantee of success. But deciding whether to run on the Libertarian ticket or the Republican ticket is a practical decision more than a philosophical one in some cases.

  21. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman January 25, 2010

    “Why would a Libertarian want to join a Right-Wing Socialist party?”

    Perhaps to stop socialized medicine?

    I am not advocating it. But assuming there is no reason for someone to do something you wouldn’t do is an attitude more appropriate to an authoritarian than a libertarian.

  22. Steve Steve January 25, 2010

    The fact that the talk is Secretary of State makes it interesting, I wonder how much discretionary authority that office really has to help third parties. Perhaps if he got in, regardless of the label, he could open the door for a lot of others.

    But the argument that libertarian running as Republican = victory isn’t that clear cut. I have a foot in both parties, so I watched with interest the Ron Paul Republican candidates across the country in 2008, but they did about as well as the usual Libertarian who runs in a 2 way race. And we are still talking about Massachusetts, where the only Republicans to win statewide seem to be the ones who are bigger statists than their Democrat opponents.

  23. Third Party Revolution Third Party Revolution January 25, 2010

    If he were to take office, he shouldn’t as a member of the major parties. He would indeed commit a travesty to those who worked for his campaign.

  24. Solomon Drek Solomon Drek January 25, 2010

    “Why would a Libertarian want to join a Right-Wing Socialist party?”

    Happens all the time. It’s called egotistical opportunism.

    More often than not the LP is nothing more than a farm team for the Republican Party. Here in New Jersey the best example is 1997 NJLP candidate for Governor Murray Sabrin. He spent over a million dollars (half of which was taxpayer financed), got into debates and ended up with less than five percent of the vote. A year later he was trying to raise money for rightwing GOP candidates (using the NJLP mailing list), and two years later ran himself for US Senate as a Republican. He also became the New Jersey coordinator for the Republican Liberty Caucus.

    I’m sure there are plenty of examples in other states. Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton was a prominent LP activist in Colorado before she sold out to the Republicans.

    My understanding is Joe Kennedy has no interest in running for any other elective office. If he does run again it should be as a Libertarian. For him to sell-out to the GOP would be a travesty to those Libertarian activists who worked their butts for him.

    For what it’s worth I was one of those naive libertarian idealists who worked my butt off, and gave money, for Murray Sabrin in 1997.

    Now I know better, and never again!

  25. Trent Hill Trent Hill January 25, 2010

    He’d be wise to take the offer, I think. Maybe not for Secretary of State–but maybe State Senator or some similar office–as a Republican.

  26. Gary Gary January 25, 2010

    Why would a Libertarian want to join a Right-Wing Socialist party?

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