Framingham Attorney King Wins Injunction Against Massachusetts Republican Party & Its Chair Jim Lyons
FRAMINGHAM – On Tuesday, January 31, the Massachusetts Republican Party will hold an election to decide a new chair.
There are 80 State Committee seats, with a majority needed to elect a chair. Voters in each state senatorial district in the Commonwealth elects one male and one female member who are registered Republicans, every four years at the Presidential Primary, to be members of the Republican State Committee, per state law.
But current Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party Jim Lyons was seeking to prohibit Lindsay Valanzola, the Republican state committeewoman for the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire & Middlesex state Senate district, from voting in the party election.
Framingham attorney George P. King Jr. filed an emergency motion for an injunction against Lyons and the Massachusetts Republican Party this week. (King is a Democrat.)
Today, January 27, a judge issued the injunction allowing Valanzola to vote in Tuesday night’s party election.
Valanzola lives in Wales, a small community of less than 2,000 residents, in Massachusetts that borders Connecticut.
Lyons, and Andover resident, complained that Valanzola lived in Tennessee, and thus was ineligible to vote on January 31 at the Apex Center in Marlborough.
“James Lyons, (hereinafter “Lyons”) current chairman of the Republican State Committee, directed a letter dated November 9, 2022, be sent to Valanzola, signed by David Carr, Esq., saying Lyons was recognizing her seat on the Committee as vacant,’ according to court fillings. “The letter stated that Lyons had verified she no longer lived in the District. The letter incorrectly cited Valanzola’s swearing under oath that she resides in Tennessee. The letter further stated she had not submitted evidence to dispute that supposition of her residence.”
King filed a motion on January 24 “for a preliminary injunction against Defendants James Lyons (“Lyons”) and the Massachusetts Republican State Committee (MRSC) that will enjoin and restrain Defendants and their agents, servants, employees and attorneys from (a) barring Valanzola from exercising her full duties as a duly-elected member of the Republican State Committee (b) interfering with Valanzola’s right to vote in the election of a Chairman of the Republican State Committee on January 31, 2023 and (c) recognizing a replacement member in the seat to which Valanzola is duly elected.”
Middlesex Superior Court Judge John Pappas judge granted that injunction today, January 27. The Massachusetts Republican Party is headquartered in Woburn, where the Middlesex Superior Court is located.
In 2022, the Massachusetts Republican Committee, through its attorney, challenged Valanzola’s residency with the registrars of voters in the Town of Wales.
The Town Clerk ultimately responded that the challenge was without standing because such challenges must be filed by a Town resident.The Committee took no further action, according to court fillings.
Valanzola was elected in 2016 and 2020, to the female designated seat on the Republican State Committee from the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex District.
“She has been an active member of the party governing body since her election participating in meetings on a regular basis and serving as Assistant Secretary,” according to court documents.
“Valanzola has been a registered voter in the Town of Wales uninterrupted since her eighteenth birthday through the present day,” according to court documents.
“Accordingly, where Valanzola remains a registered voter in the Town of Wales, and no formal challenge has been made to her residency in a forum providing her an opportunity to respond, she continues to be a resident in her Committee district,” wrote the Superior Court judge.
“On these facts, her complaint is likely to succeed on the merits,” wrote Judge Pappas. ” For these reasons, Valanzola’s motion for injunctive relief is ALLOWED. The Committee, Lyons, and those associated with them are ENJOINED from interfering with Valanzola’s exercise of her duties as a member of the Committee, her right to vote in the Committee’s election for chairman on January 31, 2023, or recognizing a replacement for her seat while she remains an elected Committee member and registered voter and resident of the Town of Wales.”
Lyons, who first was elected party chair in 2019, originally has seven challengers for the chairmanship on Tuesday.
They are Jon Fetherston of Ashland, Amy Carnevale, Chris Lyon, Elizabeth Childs, Jay Fleitman, Ron Vining, and Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette.
Fetherston, Sossa-Paquette and Fleitman have since dropped out.
The Republican Party moved farther to the right in the past few years. So far right that Lyons and several members of the party attacked former Republican Charlie Baker and former Lt. Governor Karyn Polito often.
Some in the Republican Party have said Baker and Polito did not seek re-election, and Polito did not seek to run for Governor, as both were unlikely to get the Massachusetts Republican Party’s support in 2022.
Democrat Maura Healey easily defeated Lyons-endorsed and Trump-endorsed Geoff Diehl for Governor in November 2022.