WORCESTER — Republicans from across Massachusetts will gather in Worcester Saturday to endorse a slate of statewide candidates and rally the party ahead of September’s primary election.
The daylong convention, which is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the DCU Center, will feature speeches from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and other candidates running in 2018.
State GOP leaders said the event will also seek to mobilize Massachusetts Republicans “as (they) prepare to win in 2018.”
Although the convention will allow delegates and party leaders the opportunity to formally back Massachusetts Republicans running for a series of statewide offices, much of the event will likely focus on Baker’s re-election bid, as well as GOP efforts to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
A handful of Republicans have announced campaigns to challenge the incumbent senator, who recently reported a campaign cash balance of $15 million with less than eight months left before the November contest.
They include: Beth Lindstrom, a former aide to Mitt Romney and manager of Scott Brown’s 2010 Senate bid; John Kingston, a Winchester businessman; State Rep. Geoff Diehl, R-Whitman; Darius Mitchell, of Lowell, and Heidi Wellman, of Marlborough.
Only one Republican, meanwhile, has announced a run against Baker: Scott Lively, a controversial anti-gay pastor and activist from Springfield.
Lively, who previously ran as an independent against Baker in 2014, announced his campaign in December, noting that the governor’s work on Beacon Hill inspired him to once again seek office. Despite the challenge, Baker has remained a popular figure in recent polls, with his campaign reporting a balance of nearly $8 million as of mid-April — an amount which reportedly contributed to a Democratic opponent’s decision to exit the race.
Aside from the gubernatorial and senate races, delegates will also vote to endorse candidates running for: lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney general and secretary of the commonwealth.
Those who receive a majority of delegate votes at the convention will be considered the party’s endorsed candidate.
Candidates must receive at least 15 percent of the delegates’ vote on any ballot at the convention to appear on the ballot for Massachusetts’ Republican primary election, which will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Statewide candidates running for contested seats, including the attorney general, lieutenant governor, gubernatorial, and U.S. Senate races, will address delegates before the balloting begins.
Those in uncontested races — candidates seeking the GOP nomination for secretary of the commonwealth, auditor and treasurer and receiver-general — meanwhile, will speak after ballots are cast. In addition to the balloting process, the convention will also include tributes to First Lady Barbara Bush and Capt. Thomas Hudner, a medal of honor recipient and former member of the Concord Republican Town Committee, organizers said.