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Report: Monster Snowstorm Threatens Mass. GOP's Ballot Access Report: Monster Snowstorm Threatens Mass. GOP's Ballot Access

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Report: Monster Snowstorm Threatens Mass. GOP's Ballot Access

The blizzard that is poised to dump two feet of snow on the eastern half of Massachusetts has some Bay State Republicans worried that none of their candidates in the upcoming Senate special election will be able to collect the 10,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot by the Feb. 28 deadline, according to the Boston Herald.

The field of lesser-known candidates face organizational challenges and will need the entirety of the time between now and the end of the month to collect the necessary signatures, some say. From the Herald report:

"The Mass. GOP can't afford to play Princeton basketball and let the clock run out here. With only 20 days left, candidates need to announce and pull their papers now to ensure they'll make the ballot," said Michael Hartigan, a Republican consultant who worked on former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's 2010 campaign.

Massachusetts officials require candidates to have 10,000 valid signatures to get on the election ballot by Feb. 28, but most campaign officials agree that campaigns need at least 20,000 to account for ineligible signatures.

Rep. Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk) assured the Herald he will be able to collect the signatures. Candidates can hire people to collect signatures but the cost could go as high as $100,000, said one GOP operative.

Blizzard Watches are in effect for the eastern third of the state, with forecasters at the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., cautioning that 18 to 24 inches of wet, heavy snow could fall Friday into Saturday, along with high winds. The rest of the state is under a Winter Storm Watch; forecasters expect more than a foot of snow to fall, but the winds will not be as severe farther from the coast.

The snow will start to melt on Sunday, when sunny skies and temperatures above freezing in Boston are expected. That will allow the Hub and surrounding areas to begin the cleanup process, permitting Republicans to resume gathering signatures.

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