The Massachusetts Republican Party may be at a disastrously low ebb. But, contrary to expectations, it looks as though it’s going to field the equivalent of its A-team in both the special election to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and in next year’s governor’s race.
Former state representative Andy Card, who was chief of staff to George W. Bush and a top aide in George H.W. Bush’s administration, has all but announced for the Senate seat, according to the Boston Herald.
Granted, Card was far better known several decades ago, when the Republicans regularly hoped he would toss his hat into the ring, and were invariably disappointed. Then, too, Card will have to answer for his tenure in the second Bush White House — especially his oft-cited 2002 pronouncement that the administration would not start pushing for war in Iraq until September because “from a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”
But the chances of a Republican succeeding Kennedy would appear to be non-existent in any case. Card’s presence on the ballot will help with party-building simply because he’s serious and credible.
Since Card knows he’s unlikely to win, the interesting question is: What does he want? And that’s where the Republicans’ other credible candidate, Charlie Baker, comes in. Baker, who was then-governor Bill Weld’s top aide in the early ’90s, is now running for governor himself.
Unlike the Senate, the governor’s office is a position that a Republican can reasonably hope to win, as Weld, Paul Cellucci and Mitt Romney proved. With Gov. Deval Patrick’s poll numbers down, Baker would appear to have a decent shot, assuming he can get by his primary opponent, Christy Mihos.
But is it possible that Card is looking past the Senate race in hopes of running for governor himself?