How to Defeat Democrats

There has been a lot of discussion recently about how to best defeat the Democrats.  To find out, let’s take a look at the Republicans who have successfully done exactly that.  Since the 1990 wave, four Massachusetts Republicans have successfully defeated incumbent Democrats for State Representative:  George Peterson (1994),  Vinny DeMacedo (1998), Lew Evangelidis (2002), and Jeff Perry (2002).


If running to the left of your Democratic opponent was a model for victory, then where are all the liberal Republicans getting elected?  Every year since 1990 candidates trot out this tried an failed model only to lose yet again.  Each of the Republicans that have won has done so as a conservative.  So how do you win?  Do what they do.  Follow their lead.  Be a conservative that campaigns on kitchen table issues.


Bob Hedlund was elected to the Senate in 1990, lost in 1992, and defeated the same now incumbent Democrat in 1994.  I wasn’t sure if I should include him on this list or not, but he also fits this model.

Vinny DeMacedo:  In 1998, Vinny DeMacedo defeated incumbent Democrats Joseph Gallitano by just 189 votes.…

Lew Evangelidis:  In 2002, Lew Evangelidis defeated incumbent Democrat David Bunker by a margin of 10,646 to 7,854.  Earlier that year he also won a tight primary fight for the Republican nomination over Mark Ferguson by just 53 votes.  Having both a tough primary and conservative positions clearly did not hurt him.…


About Mike "DD4RP" Rossettie


  1. Mike, i like you, alot. I respect you. I know you are brilliant, and I know this because I have known you since, what, CRs? In College? But

    But on this point your corrolation is wrong.

    They all KNOCKED ON DOORS like mad men. They worked their butts off. That is why they won.

    The fact that they are conservatives is happenstance.  

    There are plenty, and i mean PLENTY of conservative candidates, that ran as such, who lost tigher races for open seats.

    The amount of work they did is the biggest factor. Only 5-13% care about whether or not a candidate is or is not a conservative.

    So, while you can win and be a conservative, that doesnt mean being a conservative will ensure victory

    Why i am even posting this, I really dont know, but there you have it. Please forgo the slings and arrows in my directions, this is just a correction on a misplaced corrolation

  2. you could start by not messing with the aspect ratios of the photos you use.

    You’re making those Republicans look awfully creepy!

  3. Hedlund also beat a Delahunt. Both Tisie and Hedlunds seats are close to Boston which is usually a tougher situation for Repubs. too.

  4. In 2004, Joe McDonald defeated incumbent Democrat Joseph McDonough for Plymouth County Sheriff.  McDonald was the only Republican to defeat and incument Democrat that year.

    McDonald campaigned on a platform of returning professionalism and integrity to the sheriff’s department.  The Democrat had hired his ex-wife and three cousins to top management positions and promoted his brother to yet another.  He also helped engineer one of the most offensive cases of pension abuse in Massachusetts history, by hiring campaign supporter Charlie Lincoln and allowing him to double his pension.  None of them work there anymore.

  5. …Let’s see…four examples of the “conservative formula” winning in MA since 1992…or the last nine elections.  With 160 House races every cycle, thats 1440 races…with 4 examples of how conservatives running against liberal Democrats can win.  And you wonder why I so often use the word delusional around here.

  6.  I love how so many of you continue to use Senator Tisei’s comments about Ted Kennedy against him…. The man passed away it is normal for people to say good things about him… do you really think it would help the Republican party if they trashed Ted Kennedy when asked for a comment about his passing. And as far as Tisei’s Romney comment goes… I supported Romney when he ran for Governor but felt he abandoned us… and left Kerry Healey out to hang… So I agree with what Tisei said.

    So why don’t we talk about someone else comments…. Hmmmm maybe Polito’s comments about Obama from a Globe article on January 18 2009. Tisei was talking about a man that had just died… Polito is talking about a man who is going to kill our way of life.

    Karyn Polito:

    Personally I was moved by Barack Obama’s campaign. He’s a very inspirational individual who introduced himself in a short period of time, and captured the heart and soul of the country.


  7.   All I have to say is that if these members of our party continue to attack our nominee for Lt. Governor, after the convention we are in serious trouble. No independent is ever going to sign up to support a candidate when the candidates own party is the one doing the smear tactics… People are tired of this, haven’t you seen the reactions of the people when they talk about Governor Patrick, and members of his own party like Dimasi fighting over issues, and attacking one another. The people don’t want it and won’t vote for it…

    And I hate to disappoint all of you especially the Politoites out there, but Richard Tisei has never lost an election (Just like Celluci) and he isn’t going to lose this one… Polito is as far as she will ever go so deal with it and move on.

    You might just throw quotes from the senator that you don’t like, or to try and discourage people from supporting him,  but what he says is always the truth, and that’s what I want, not a person who will say something just to make others happy I want the truth. If you want to vote for an Obama type person who will just tell you what you want to hear and change their opinion to please others then go right ahead but I don’t want that I want a stand up truthful guy like Richard Tisei…

  8. Sorry – as a conservative I would like to find some glimmer of hope in your article but it was depressing.  If you think that because Republicans defeated 4 incumbent Democrats in the last 15 years is impressive or indicative of what Republicans can do in 2010 – you my friend are an extreme optimist who will be greatly disappointed in November 2010.

    Only 4 Democrats defeated.  You failed to mention the number of Repiublican incumbents who were ousted.

    I may be a conservative but I am also a realist.  There is no pool for Republican candidates.  We need to build from the grassroots up.  Unfortunately, our type of grass does not grow in the People’s Republic of Mass.

    I will settle for a liberal Republican over a liberal Democrat any day of the week.

    Baker – Tisei may not be the ideal ticket, but they give us huge hope that we will be a two party state again.

  9.     First off sorry for the delay in the response I was away for the weekend.

    – If you know the bylaws and reason for a convention you would know, that candidates are nominated, and then voted on by the delegates to become the nominated candidates for that party read your rules

    – The reasons why I bring up Karyn Polito are

    A. Those who I am arguing with here on RMG were pushing for her to be the choice for Lt. Governor

    B. She had the only active group pushing for her publicly to be Lt. Governor.

    C. I believe it is her supporters who are bitter that Tisei was chosen, and have chosen to attack him.

    D. Out of all our Elected Republicans in Massachusetts I like her the least, I feel she is fake and only out for herself, and will hurt our party if she is allowed to win higher office.  

    – Why do you all feel the need to attack Senator Tisei….? Yes there might be a handful of extremely conservative, republicans who have been elected, i.e. Polito, Perry, Evangalidis, but there are allot more that have lost…. Healy, Ogonowski, Beatty, Numerous state rep and senate candidates and the same for congress, but there are far more moderate republicans elected, as proven in the Polito crowd losing to Jones, in their attempt to tear apart out party.


  10. Knocking on doors is key.  Working your butt off is key.  Definitely have to do those things.

    Also, I never said being conservative will “ensure” victory.

    The reason for posting this is to show that running to the left as far and as fast as possible doesn’t get you elected.  Some people here are arguing that it does.  SOme people here are arguing that being conservative “ensures” defeat.  The evidence shows otherwise.

    Let’s accept your premise that only 5-13% care if you are conservative or not.  Who are they?  Not the apolitical masses.  Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats are the ones who care.  The Liberal Democrats are going to support the Liberal Democrat.  The Conservative Republicans may volunteer, donate and be engaged in your campaign or not.  Among the people who care, being conservative only helps you.

  11. I agree it’s all shoe-leather at the local level.  In statewide races though it’s a little different.

    Weld wouldn’t have won without independents.  Cellucci would not have won without independents.  Even Romney ran more centrist than he ended up at the end of his term (when he decided to bail out and play to a different audience).

    When you run statewide you’ve got to get the independents, and it helps to be a moderate.

    But more than that, when you run statewide, because it’s so much more media-dominated than a local race, you’ve got to give the voters something to vote FOR.  We can’t win when we’re against everything, and unfortunately too many (not all, not Reagan, for example) candidates seem to run from an angry place where they’re mad as hell and against everything  – but they don’t give people any reason to vote for them.

    And Hedlund was elected in 1990 when nearly anyone with an (r) next to their name got elected (anybody remember Donna Lambert in Middlesex county?).  But he fought his way back in ’94 through shoe-leather.

    So yeah – local=shoe leather.  Statewide?  More complicated.

  12. Most self described moderates are really apolitical and most of them won’t make their decision for Governor based on the LG candidate.  However, those who are looking for moderate policies will find very little to like about Tisei.  

    Tisei too often leapfrogs moderates to grab the left wing small end of the wedge.  For partial birth abortion, against parental consent laws, against the income tax rollback.  On issues where most Republicans are on the large side of the wedge he abandons us in favor of the far left position.

    That’s the really frustrating part here.  These are not “politically pragmatic” positions designed for the center.  They are politically unpragmatic positions of the left wing.  Why does he hold them?  Because he is a true believer in the principles of these far left policies.

    Nor are his far left positions some second tier issue set for him.  He sponsors the bills.  He actively campaigns for them.  He writes columns in the media designed to move the political center further and further to the left.  He’s not just left wing, he’s a left wing activist.


    As for Hedlund, you are making my point for me.  1990 was a landslide year when lots of people got ushered into office.  For a model of success, look at the people who have been successful after the 1990 wave.

  13. There are zero examples of left wing Republicans knocking off Democrats.  This is the only formula that has ever done so in the past 20 years.

  14. Your number of 1440 attempts is crap and you know it.

    There aren’t 160 incumbent Democrats running each cycle.

    Those who are incumbent Dems are usually not challenged.

    Those who are challenged are often challenged by liberal Republicans.

    Those liberal Republicans have failed 100% of the time.

    Those that were conservative didn’t always follow the campaign model these guys did.

    Even if you did divide 4 by 1440 it would be .278%.  Your basic division is delusional.

    Here’s a parallel:

    Last year there were 256 regular season football games.

    Bill Belichick was only the winning coach in 11 of them.

    That’s only a 4.3% winning percentage.

    Using Festus Math, we’ll change that to 0.043%

    “If you think Bill Belichek knows how to win football games, you’re delusional.”

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  15. Let’s go the other way.

    In 2008 the Democrats didn’t knock off a single incumbent Republican in the House.  By your argument, they went “0 for 160.”  Which would be a “0% winning formula.”  

    Of course, then by your bad math would have to reduce that number to some number that’s less than zero…

  16. The above quote goes to show you that ALL politicians say things that may get into print that days/weeks/months later may not have been the best thing to say in public.  A personal example for me is when someone from the paper interviewing me about Republican issues asked me to say a couple of good things about our present President.  I mentioned a few things (gosh…can’t even remember now

    what I said) but I was worried the next day that the newspaper article would note only the comments I made about the President and not the real reason for the interview.  

  17. Here’s my story behind the quotes:

    I knew I was going to be going after Tisei on some issues that are important to me.  Whenever you go after a Republican some people always use a similar argument.  “You can’t go after that person.  They have the letter (R) next to their name and you aren’t allowed to ever go after another (R).  Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment…” and so on.

    I knew I was going to take some heat.  I originally had the Romney quote their just to protect myself from such arguments.  After all, Tisei goes after other Republicans too.  I don’t actually have a problem with Tisei going after another Republican either.  I happen to disagree with Tisei on the issues, and disagree with what he was going after Romney for.

    I actually only had the one quote for a while.  Later on I stumbled upon the Kennedy quote and threw it in for the juxtaposition.  You may not like that I have those tag lines of Tisei saying those things, but he did say them.  I tend to change my tag lines regularly and will likely do so again in the near future.

    My objections to Tisei aren’t really about these quotes, but rather his left wing activism and issue positions.  Nor do my objections have anything to do with KP.  That ship had sailed before the Tisei pick was formally announced.  The odds of her running for LG without being selected by Baker are less than a thousand to one.

    I can see why someone else might think I was hung up on her not getting it.  I did openly advocate for her selection.  However, my main arguments for her were based on electability.  She was my “80% is your friend, compromise, reach out to moderates” candidate if you catch my drift.  There are other elected Republicans here in MA I am more closely aligned with on issues of ideology.  KP was a candidate that I could sell to apolitical people.

  18. I am probably more in line on ideology with all 5 people pictured above than I am with KP.  Any one of the 6 would make a good LG in my book.

  19. When I saw the quotes I assumed the first was during the presidential primary fight and the second was after the death of Sen. Kennedy.  I was only half right.

    The first was from this article from Bay Windows, a GLBT Newspaper.   I know many on RMG disagree, but personally, I agree this should be a big tent party that focuses on economic/fiscal issues.  If your gripe is fiscal issues, not Tisei’s personal life, why use this quote?

    “[Weld, Cellucci and Swift] were all very friendly and understood the need to bring diverse voices into the party. I’d say Gov. Romney was a disaster we’re all still trying to recover from, and I would hope the leadership of the party going forward, both with our new chair and with our gubernatorial candidate in the next election would be more in the tradition of Weld and Cellucci,” said Tisei.

    Regarding the second quote, following Senator Kennedy’s death Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals came and spoke highly of Kennedy.  Mitt Romney, Orin Hatch, John McCain, and yes Senator Richard Tisei.  The message from all of them was clear, they didn’t agree often on policy, but Senator Kennedy was in public service for 47 years and was known for being great at constituent services – something Tisei has come to have a reputation for as well.

    If these quotes are a representation of the facts you throw out there on Tisei, I think it’s very telling.

    I know there’s a few of us who have come out of the woodwork on RMG to defend Tisei – we’ve seen him as a Senator and seen the votes he’s taken.  He’s not right 100% of the time, but he’s a great pick.  

    Lets focus on getting more Republicans elected.

  20. If fact, didn’t the D’s pick up two open house seats that were held by Rs (I can only think if 1).  Would you consider Healy’s chief of staff as a RINO who was not conservative enough to win in Holliston?  I mean he may have been moderate in your eyes, but compared to the D candidate, there was a clear distinction for the voters and they picked the more liberal candidate (insert whine here about all the special interest money that “stole” stole that election.

    Go ahead and did in your heals (or more accurately, stick your head in the sand) and stick with your four examples over 18 years that embolden you to maintain course on the USS Mass Republican Party.  

  21. You are now talking about OPEN seats.  That is not what this post was about.  It was about knocking off sitting Democrats.  There are other Republicans who won open seats since 1990.  There are other Republicans who won open Dem seats since 1990.

    This post was about incumbents, which is rare here in Massachusetts for either party.  So rare, that even in the 2008 wave election the Dems failed to do it a single time.

    So when this rare thing happens we should analyze how it happened.  This post isn’t about maintaining course, it’s about changing it.  It’s about not doing what has failed us for the last 20 years and instead following the model that has actually worked.

    Did you even read the post?

  22. We don’t have a nominee yet.  I have not attacked any nominee.  The primary is 9 months away.

    And I never attacked his character, or smeared him, or called him dishonest, or called him corrupt, or anything like that.  This isn’t about him as a person.

    I have problems with him on issues of government policy.  If you have problems with me going after someone over their policy positions and voting records too bad.  Deal with it.  When someone is wrong on those things I will continue to say so.

  23. All I have to say is that if these members of our party continue to attack our nominee for Lt. Governor, after the convention

    First: If you read what was written, you would clearly see, I said AFTER THE CONVENTION…. At which time Richard Tisei will be the nominee…

    Second: I never said you felt he was dishonest but you continued to use quotes to try and smear him and paint him as a Kennedy loving Republican hating candidate… To which I replied that if you wish for a candidate who will tell you only what you want to hear then help yourself there is a governor and president who seem right up your alley. But I prefer a candidate who will tell me what he truthfully feels whether I agree or not…

    Third: If a Republican Governor and Lt. Governor are willing to reach across the aisle and work with the democrats in the legislature then we will be the winners, anyone who wants to just sit in the corner office and pull temper tantrums and refuse to work with the other party will only lose. Tisei is very popular with members of both parties and will be able to extend an olive branch and get real things done…. If you want an Evangelidis, Polito or Perry than you can have them, they lost when they tried to take out Jones and they will lose again… I want someone who will get things done, because if you think we will just win by getting only other Republicans like ourselves than you are sadly mistaken we need independents and democrats

  24. …this question to you on the comments you left about Polito on another post, but the discussion has apparently moved over to here.

    Why on earth are you so hung up on Polito? Why are you obsessed with her? She’s not running. She isn’t the pick.

    As far as I can tell, she hasn’t said anything about this whole situation and I can only guess that she has moved on.

    Maybe YOU are the one who needs to move on now.


  25. …the PRIMARY choose the Nominee, not the Convention, so you’re wrong on the facts.

    2: Tisei could have said a lot of things to express what he wanted the GOP to be in the future.  He decided to attack Romney.  Call him a “Disaster”.  What’s his basis for that?  He’s been in the Senate since 1990.  We lost seats under Weld.  We lost seats under Cellucci.  Where they “disasters?”

    I guess it’s ok for Dick Tisei to attack fellow Republicans because he disagrees with him, but if others point out his Leftist Record, we’re being divisive.

    3: This is the type of thinking that has gotten us to 16 seats in the House and 5 in the Senate.  If you give voters a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat Lite, they’ll choose the real thing every time.

    You know, if Liberal Republicanism was this electoral Juggernaut, it would make sense.  As DD4RP points out a Liberal Republican hasn’t defeated an incumbent Democrat in 20 years!

  26. He will still not be the nominee after convention.  The primary is 9 months away.

  27. …and as VE points out, it had more to do with working hard than ideology.    Why are you analyzing all the “495” loses you folks had in ’08, which you were all crowing was going to be a big win.  Why not talk about why Rick at RMG got his clocked cleaned by Tierney, or why Sandi Martiniz (spelling) is always losing, as is the family values candidate Lonnie Brennan, or McCormic losing to Rosenberg, was Beatty to much of a RINO to beat Kerry or was Ogo’s stance on illegal immigration to liberal to bet Tsongas?  Heck I’m just sitting here and the examples are just popping into my head without even trying.

    There is nothing I can say that will convince you otherwise, so all I can do is chuckle at your delusions.  

  28. will be history. Here’s one reason Festus that Republicans always tend to loose: public employee unions and special interest money like Mass Equality. No non-Democrat has a chance. And guess who got rid of public financing of campaigns after it was approved by the voters? Hint: It wasn’t Republicans. So keep chuckling as the state goes into a sewer.  

  29. In what you point out.  At the same time would also be fair to point out that there was a very anti-GOP sentiment in 08?  Everything nationally started going down to tubes just as the election started ramping up.  Bush was very unpopular as was the GOP in general.  Truthfully I sometimes wonder if the average a-political smuck knows that REPS and Senators at the state level don’t interact with the president on a daily basis?  Or that they don’t work in Washinton DC.  Or that Washington DC is not actually in a west coast state?

    I can’t tell you how many people don’t know the difference between the DOR and IRS or Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill.  

    Sounds scary I know, but you’d be surprised how many of those people are out there….and the votes count just as much much as mine or yours…..very scary….gives me nightmares.

  30. …and I’ve been knocking Deval since before his election, but you need to forget your facts so you can live your fantasies.  

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