The November elections gave Republicans control of the U.S. House, but GOP candidates across the country failed to live up to expectations, and the unmet expectations were felt by Massachusetts Republican committee members, none more so than Marblehead resident Amy Carnevale.
A state committee member for nearly a decade, Carnevale has announced her bid to unseat Jim Lyons as the state committee chair, and says she’s running because she believes his agenda and views are not in the best interest of the party.
“This year in particular, the messaging of the party has really been centered around the chairman’s views of policy issues in particular. I think that’s really wrong for our party,” she said. “Our party is much bigger than the views of any one chairman, no matter who that person is.”
Carnevale was born in Marblehead and attended Marblehead High School, where she first became interested in politics. She was a student when the political bug bit her and she volunteered to drop off campaign literature door to door.
After graduating high school, Carnevale attended college in the ideal location to learn about politics: Washington, D.C. She went to George Washington University and ended up interning at the White House during the H.W. Bush administration.
Following graduation, Carnevale spent 10 years working on Capitol Hill for a Republican congressman from Washington State.
Chairing a committee is actually a familiarity to Carnevale. After spending time in the nation’s capital, she decided she wanted to get involved in politics on a local level and moved back to Marblehead.
She got involved with the Marblehead Republican Town Committee, where she said she was “drafted” into running for committee chair. She served in that position for a few years before she was encouraged yet again to run for a position — this time to be a committee member in the MassGOP, a role she’s held for 10 years.
Now she’s running for the position of chair to help mend the divide between party members and bring strength and unity back to the party.
“I never in a million years envisioned running for party chair,” she said with a chuckle. “I have always been a big supporter of the two-party system and a big believer in the strength of the Republican Party, but with that being said, I never had planned to run for party chair. It’s only because I think the party failed our candidates horribly in the last election that I decided to step up and put my name forward.”
She called the November election a “low point” for the party, and pointed to a lack of leadership from Lyons as a major contributor to the lackluster performance.
“I think that can be directly attributed to a lack of messaging on the part of the chair of our party, as well as fundraising and direct support to Republican candidates,” said Carnevale.
Secretary to the Marblehead Republican Town Committee Sharon Randall met Carnevale when she was a member of the local organization and says she’s a perfect fit to lead the state committee.
“I have been involved with MassGOP for two decades now and have seen the various people who have taken on that role. She just stands apart from the crowd,” said Randall. “She is confident, she is forward thinking, just really has the networking and teambuilding skills that you would expect in a leadership position.”
Committee bylaws state that a party chair has to be elected in January. Carnevale said that if she were elected chair, her focus would be on what current elected officials are working on in Beacon Hill and other towns and cities across the state, as well as what other candidates are trying to accomplish.