It’s sad to see Dan Winslow jump out of the rowboat holding the tiny Republican delegation on Beacon Hill. He’s smart, likeable, experienced, innovative – exactly the kind of opposition Democrats in the Legislature need. I think he would have been a much better opponent for Ed Markey than Gabriel Gomez turned out to be, but he came in third in the GOP primary.
Like many other great Massachusetts GOP hopes – Scott Brown, Paul Cellucci, etc. – Winslow left politics because he could make more money elsewhere. Try to pay state legislators more than middle managers at middle-sized corporations and the Republicans are the first to scream about it. But they are the party with trouble recruiting candidates because their brightest lights can’t handle the cut in pay.
I don’t know why the Republican Party doesn’t attract people who are motivated by the urge to serve that seems to make Democrats willing to make the sacrifices politics at the state and local level require. It may be that those motivated by political service join the party most likely to offer opportunities. If most office-holders were Republicans, it would be easier for the Mass. GOP to attract talent. I expect this is the case in solid Republican states. The result, though, is that one-party states stay one-party states. Massachusetts Republicans have had a weak bench as long as I can remember, and its tiny pool of talent just got tinier.