What kind of demented moron would pour at least $300,000 – and perhaps as much as $700,000 – into the doomed, hapless gubernatorial campaign of a perennial loser like Geoff “DoorDash” Diehl?
The answer: Jim “Jones” Lyons, the bust-out ex-chairman of the Massachusetts state Republican party.
The more we learn about Lyons’ catastrophic four years as party chairman, the worse it looks.
Earlier this week, his successor, Amy Carnevale, announced that the party has received invoices from vendors totaling $602,000.
Four years ago, when he took over, the state party had more than $700,000 in the bank. Now it’s $602,000 in the red.
Jim Jones Lyons was a million-dollar mistake.
Under his reign of error, the state GOP lost three sheriffs, a district attorney, more than a dozen legislative seats, didn’t win a single statewide or Congressional office, and didn’t even bother to contest a referendum to increase the state income tax by 80 percent.
But the single most insane thing Lyons did –even worse than stiffing any number of mom-and-pop small businesses on his way out the door — was wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on Diehl, who ran (or more precisely, didn’t run) the worst campaign in state history.
Still, when the 68-year-old Lyons looked at the proud Uber driver – “Knows English,” his satisfied customers raved – he sensed an easy winner. Lyons always knew how to pick ‘em.
After all, in 2015, Diehl was beaten for an open state Senate seat. In 2018, he lost for the US Senate. In 2020, Lyons himself crushed Diehl for party chairman.
Diehl was tanned, rested, and most importantly, his Uber rating was 94.1.
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) is all over Lyons and his Kool Aid Kult right now like a cheap suit. They’ve asked the local party to help them “identify $372,652.66 in expenditures that were incorrectly reported to OCPF.”
But it gets worse: “Of that total, $300,098 were payments to Mittcom listed as ‘print expenses.’ These payments were actually for various TV, radio and digital ads relating to the Governor’s race.”
Mittcom is owned by 73-year-old Democrat donor Bruce Mittman, who until this week had selfies of himself posted on his social media with both Joe Biden and John Kerry. Now Mittcom is seeking an additional $400,000-plus from the GOP, presumably for yet more Diehl advertising buys.
So it looks like Lyons may have squandered as much as $700,000 on Geoff Diehl, a sheep in sheep’s clothing, who was so terrified of his Republican primary opponent that he refused to debate him even once on television last summer.
In the general election, Diehl barely even campaigned. He was too busy with more pressing matters, like closing down his backyard pool for the winter.
Diehl couldn’t even break 35 percent in the final election. The election was called two minutes after the polls closed, it was that much of a rout. Diehl won his hometown of Whitman with a whopping 50.6 percent of the vote. He even lost Abington, which he’d represented in the legislature for eight years.
Diehl did hold one sparsely-attended rally in Worcester, at Mechanics Hall. We know this because Mechanics Hall is still trying to collect its $8,242.50 rent – it’s part of the $602,000 in Lyons’ unpaid bills.
The question is, where did all this money come from – I mean the $300,000 Joe Biden’s pal Mittman has already pocketed.
No one knows for sure, but there is another $119,156 in outstanding bills for, as the OCPF audit points out, “coordinated mail in which candidates provided the party with funds to cover their mailings. However the funds were redirected elsewhere.”
Most likely for another round of ads for Geoff Diehl when he was 30 points behind, taking the weekend off and calling Lyons to find out how the investigation into Maura Healey’s sex life was coming along.
Here’s how those unpaid mailings are supposed to work: the state committee is a non-profit, so it get a lower bulk-mail rate from the US Postal Service. So to save thousands on postage, candidates send money to the state committee for their mailings, and the committee gets the lower rates.
This is a system that has worked for both parties forever. It’s based on trust – the party takes the candidates’ money, and then pays the printers.
Guess who didn’t pay the printers this year, at least not all their money. Two of the legislative candidates whose printers were stiffed were then-state Rep. Lenny Mirra and candidate Andrew Shepherd.
Mirra lost his recount by one vote. Shepherd lost his election by seven votes, after Lyons’ nitwit allies suggested that Republicans write in another candidate in his district because Shepherd wasn’t sufficiently insane enough to warrant Lyons’ support.
Under Lyons, his faction of the GOP turned into a cult – a death cult, like Jonestown in 1979. He insisted everyone drink the Kool Aid. Like all cult leaders, Lyons particularly hated heretics, apostates, those Republicans who had back-slid into wanting to win elections.
To be a member of Lyons’ GOP death cult, only one thing was required: You had to be a loser. The more times you had failed to win office, the higher up you could rise in the cult – Diehl, Jay McMahon, Rayla Campbell, all the Kool Aid Kultists have multiple stompings under their belts.
Lyons and his ilk love losing. That’s not an exaggeration. In his final speech before losing his chairmanship, Lyons spoke of his philosophy as the leader of the state party:
“Let me be clear, we’re not going to win and even in most elections, we might lose.”
Most elections? All elections, you mean, as long as you were running the party.
One last unpaid bill from Oct. 29, for $19,900: to a company called Axiom, for a Diehl mailer.
The irony here: Lyons was a big Ted Cruz guy in 2016. He hated Trump. And guess who did Cruz’s campaign? Axiom.
Lyons was dreaming that Cruz would run again in 2024. He probably expected to deliver the state’s 40-plus delegates to him. (Cruz isn’t running.) But in true Lyons form, after trying to ingratiate himself to somebody who could help him, Lyons stiffed them.
And now he’s already trying to take back the state committee. Because, hey, there’s a US Senate fight next year, and guess what – Geoff Diehl’s always looking to take another beating.
It’s what Lyons and his losers do. Losers lose. No winners need apply.