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WESTFORD, MA: October 31, 2020: GOP Chairman Jim Lyons speaks during a rally against Question 2, Rank Choice Voting, in Westford, Massachusetts. (Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
WESTFORD, MA: October 31, 2020: GOP Chairman Jim Lyons speaks during a rally against Question 2, Rank Choice Voting, in Westford, Massachusetts. (Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
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BOSTON – With MassGOP Chairman Jim Lyons under fire from elected officials in his own party, the State Committee on Wednesday will no longer consider a proposal that would have removed Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Republican leaders on Beacon Hill from the party’s executive committee.

The proposed change to the bylaws has been replaced by an amendment that would instead require two-thirds of the entire 80-member State Committee to vote to endorse in a Republican primary, rather than giving the Executive Committee that authority.

“In the past few weeks, those of us who have supported removing the elected officials from the executive committee have had many fruitful conversations with fellow state committee members, and have heard the valid concerns expressed about this idea,” State Committee member Amanda Orlando wrote in an email to committee members on Saturday, outlining her new proposal.

Lyons told Politico he was in full support of the new plan.

Baker on Friday said he wished his party recognized that “politics, and especially campaigns and elected politics, is supposed to be a team sport.”

“Kicking us off doesn’t make any sense,” Baker said.

The Executive Committee has in the past used its authority to endorse in GOP primaries, including throwing the committee’s support behind Baker in 2018 and freeing up party resources for the governor that led to a lawsuit from his Republican opponent Scott Lively.

The proposal to remove Baker and other top party elected officials, however, had divided the State Committee.

Under the new proposal, the Executive Committee with Baker on it would still retain its authority to audit State Committee finances, conduct staff performance reviews and grant charters to organizations seeking MassGOP affiliation.

The backing away from the plan to remove the moderate Baker from the Executive Committee comes as Lyons is under pressure from party leaders over his refusal to call for the resignation of State Committee member Deborah Martell.

Martell wrote in an email that she was “sickened” that Republican Congressional candidate Jeffrey Sosa-Paquette and his husband had adopted children. Baker has called the comments “disgraceful” and called for her resignation, while all but one House Republican has said Lyons should resign if he is “unprepared or unwilling” to seek Martell’s resignation.

Lyons on Friday said Martell’s comments were offensive, but refused to ask her to step down.

“I acknowledge that she wrote in a manner that was offensive. However, Massachusetts Republican Party bylaws are clear: freedom of speech and religious liberty are values that are unbending and uncompromising,” Lyons said in a statement. “My hope is that both individuals involved in this controversy can and will unite behind our shared values.”

Lyons, of Andover, is a former state representative whose district included portions of Tewksbury.