Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Another Patronage Appointment for Romney

The AP is reporting tonight that Governor Mitt Romney has appointed former Republican legislative candidate Mary Connaughton to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Connaughton, if you recall, lost a mean spirited race in 2004 against Democrat Tom Sannicandro to fill the seat Karen Spilka vacated when she ran (successfully) for the state Senate. Romney stumped hard for Connaughton, and the state Republicans spent just over $23,700 on her campaign. On election day, all Connaughton and Team Reform had to show for their efforts, however, was a dog bite and a thirty point loss.

As the rumor goes, Katherine Abbot, the former head of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and her chief of staff were fired in part because they refused to hire Connaughton. Sure, the official word was that the axe came down after some students were injured in an accident caused by an unplowed sidewalk, but the impression that DCR is a haven for hacks and retreads just won't fade away. Apparently Romney never stopped looking for a slot to plug Connaughton into, and today he was able put her in a place where he and state Republicans could finally start to get a return for their investment.

By the way, during the 2004 campaign, Connaughton campaigned in favor of merging the Turnpike Authority with MassHighway. One wonders if her determination will continue now that she runs the risk of making her own job redundant.