Rep. Shawn Dooley, who ran for party chair in January against Jim Lyons, said he will not seek the support of the Massachusetts Republican Party's state committee to become vice chair after Tom Mountain resigned Sunday night from that perch.
Mountain, who has clashed with Lyons over the former lawmaker's stewardship of the party, sent an email Sunday to committee members announcing his decision, blaming "scurrilous and demeaning" blog posts, and describing himself as the victim of a crime. The party's executive committee had planned to meet Tuesday to discuss the allegations.
"For the good of our Party, I will be stepping down as MassGOP Vice Chair immediately to focus on an effort to clear my name," Mountain wrote in the email, reported on by various media outlets and obtained by the News Service.
While Mountain did not specify the blog or the allegations against him, the Worcester-based Turtleboy Daily News site in recent days has accused Mountain of making inappropriate comments on women's social media posts and possibly getting catfished into an explicit conversation.
Mountain called it a "fraudulent conspiracy" and said he had hired an attorney and an investigator to obtain the necessary records from Facebook that he needs to "ensure that the individuals who perpetuated this crime are held accountable, civilly and criminally."
"During the past few months of turmoil at the MassGOP, I've consistently said that incapable officers should step aside. Regardless of the truth about what happened, this blog post, and the conspiracy behind it, has rendered me incapable of serving as an effective officer of the MassGOP," Mountain said.
The Mountain episode is the latest scandal to hit the MassGOP and another distraction as the party's looks to regain its footing with voters, improve fundraising, and find races where it can be competitive in 2022. Dooley is one of the few elected members of the Legislature on the state committee.
He told the News Service when asked that the vice chairmanship does not interest him at this time.
"Given that the vice chair doesn't have any authority to create substantive change within the party, coupled with the fact that Chairman Lyons and his minions seem intent on continuing down the path of attacking anyone who doesn't pass their 'purity' test and drive even more people from the ranks of the GOP — I am not inclined to throw my hat in the ring and be tied to his continued missteps," Dooley said in an email.