New owner of conservative blog in Massachusetts sees site as organizing tool

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BOSTON >> In addition to continuing to serve as a forum for conservatives and Republicans, the blog Red Mass Group will also begin featuring more posts about events in an attempt to draw people to meetings and into the political process, according to the site's new owner.

As an election year gets underway, Republican State Committee member Steve Aylward told the News Service this week that the site can serve as a less expensive organizing tool "to increase Republican participation in the process." The GOP recently used postcards to attract people to a Republican organizing meeting in Brighton, he said, while noting the cost of sending mail to households.

As Republican Gov. Charlie Baker emphasizes his bipartisan leanings, state committee elections set for the March 1 presidential primary ballot feature contests, where according to Aylward there will be "56 contested races," for the 80 positions in 40 districts in addition to the contested presidential contests notable this year for the large field of GOP candidates.

Aylward announced Jan. 2 that he led a group that late last year took over ownership of the blog from longtime editor Rob Eno. Aylward, who led a 2014 ballot initiative to repeal the law indexing the gas tax to inflation, told the News Service he bought the site because "I did not want it to die."

"I want to take it wherever it goes. It's an effective tool for getting our message out," he said.

The Red Mass Group website is a counterpart to the liberal Blue Mass Group.

With Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Republicans hold the Corner Office but no other constitutional offices and Democrats have a monopoly on Congressional seats and firm control in the House and Senate. For years, Democrats have held hefty advantages over Republicans in voter registration and party leaders and officeholders have built on their organizing advantages to maintain their bases of political power.

Saying "the Massachusetts media certainly leans left," Aylward pitched the site as a needed alternative, along with talk radio programs that also often feature hosts and guests critical of Democrats.

In his Jan. 2 ownership announcement, Aylward said he'd "lined up a series of bloggers" for his site but in a subsequent interview he declined to name any of them and noted that those who post on the site are not obligated to use their real names.

The site this week featured posts on Baker's fundraising in a non-election year, the state's comparatively late primary elections, and posts on why Massachusetts Republicans fail to make electoral gains, a debate watch party for state committee candidate Marty Lamb, "record gun sales" and making a case that liberals should divest from Springfield-based gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson.


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