EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

May 9, 2014

Gov. candidate Fisher claims MassGOP tried to bribe him to move aside

BOSTON — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mark Fisher escalated his dispute with the Republican Party yesterday accusing unnamed party officials of attempting to bribe him in December with $1 million to drop out of the governor’s race long before the party’s nominating convention in March.

Fisher also challenged the frontrunner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination Charlie Baker to join him in demanding the MassGOP release the detailed delegate vote tally sheets that were relied upon at the nominating convention to exclude him from the ballot.

“You want to lead the state as governor and you’re not leading on this one issue?” Fisher asked, saying he hoped Baker had not been personally involved in the alleged vote-counting transgressions but later suggesting possible “collusion” with the Baker campaign.

Fisher filed a lawsuit after the state GOP convention alleging that the party improperly tallied delegate votes resulting in his failure to qualify for the ballot. The lawsuit alleges a number of irregularities, including the improper counting of blank votes toward the total, which the party denies.

The Tea Party businessman from Shrewsbury said he would not accept the party’s offer made in court on Wednesday to certify him for the ballot in exchange for him dropping the lawsuit, insisting that the party also pay him damages and release tally sheets that he said could contain “damning” evidence of possible criminal activity.

The MassGOP’s attorney said the settlement offer was made to avoid further distraction from the party’s mission of winning the governor’s office in November.

A hearing in the case has been scheduled in Suffolk Superior Court for today at 2 p.m.

After being accused by party attorney Louis Ciavarra this week of demanding $1 million in return for dropping the lawsuit, Fisher said it was the party who first offered money to him to get out of the race and clear the path for Baker, the establishment’s preferred candidate.

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