Massachusetts Republican Party

Mass. Republicans Describe Growing Fractures in State Party

The divide between hard-right conservatives within the Massachusetts Republican Party, led by Chair Jim Lyons, and more centrist politicians like Gov. Charlie Baker, has continued to expand

NBC Universal, Inc.

The divide within the Massachusetts Republican Party is growing wider.

Republican State Committeewoman Janet Leombruno is concerned about what's been happening with the state party.

"It is incredibly hard to operate in the party today as a pragmatic centrist," she said.

Leombruno described the tension at the January state committee meeting, when member John Miller tried to get Chair Jim Lyons to seat duly elected state committeewoman Nicaela Chinnaswamy.

In video provided by a committee member, Lyons can be seen at the podium yelling at Miller, who is trying to raise a point of order. Lyons tells Miller he's out of order, saying, "There's the door, there's the door, John."

"We realized then that he has no intention of working within the rules," Leombruno said.

The video goes on to show Lyons saying, "I will remove you, John." When the crowd gasps, Lyons calls for security.

"And then he started to walk out to go get security, and then everybody just got up and left," Leombruno said.

She says it's just one example of the party fracture — with hard-right conservatives who favor former President Donald Trump versus Gov. Charlie Baker's more centrist faction.

"This is Massachusetts. These are people who want a moderate lifestyle, they don't want extremes," said former Massachusetts GOP Executive Director Gene Hartigan.

He says the party always had divisions, but he explains that things are different now.

"They always understood the basic rules of the party and how to deal with that, and when it came time for elections, they united and got together," Hartigan said. "I don't see that happening now."

"I feel like if I leave, then we leave it to kind of the fringe of the party," Leombruno said.

Asked for comment, the MassGOP referred NBC10 Boston to a state committee candidate who did not want to speak on the record.

MassGOP Treasurer Patrick Crowley has frozen the party's bank account because the budget was not approved by a quorum. Lyons is now suing Crowley.

Contact Us