Friday, January 21, 2022

GOP Baker won’t run for third term as Massachusetts governor

BOSTON (AP) – Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that he will not run for a third term as governor of Massachusetts, where his party is split between supporters and opponents of former President Donald Trump.

“It was an extremely difficult decision for us,” Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karin Polito told government officials in an email. “Serving as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts has been the most challenging and rewarding job we’ve ever done. We will always be grateful to the people of this state for this great honor. ”

Baker’s decision is approaching the end of a second grueling year, in which his exclusive focus has been on tackling the once-in-a-century health and economic COVID-19 pandemic.

Baker has long been one of the nation’s most popular leaders. His decision means there will be an open race for governor next year, which could encourage more candidates to take part.

A number of Democrats have already announced their candidacies for governor, including Harvard professor Daniel Allen, State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and former State Senator Ben Downing.

Another possible Democratic candidate – Attorney General Maura Healy – has yet to say if she will run for the top political office.

Jeff Diehl, a former Republican State Representative, has already announced his candidacy. Diehl remains popular with the conservative base of the state GOP and was favored by Trump.

Baker, who worked in the administrations of former Republican colleagues. William Weld and Paul Cellucci ran for governor for the first time in 2010 and lost to incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick.

Four years later, Baker ran again, defeating former Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley and taking office in January 2015. In his second run for governor in 2018, Baker easily defeated Democrat Jay Gonzalez.

During his second term as president, the sudden emergence of COVID-19 pushed much of Baker’s political agenda aside as he and the rest of the state rushed to respond to the effects of the rapidly spreading and deadly virus that scientists and politicians were acclaimed for. trying to understand in real time.

Baker has taken a series of dramatic steps, shutting down nonessential businesses, requiring masks in public places, closing schools and implementing home preservation guidelines.

While some resented the restrictions, polls showed that Baker’s reactions were generally praised by the public, albeit with serious errors. The state has seen one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in a U.S. nursing home at a veterans’ home where dozens have died from the disease.

“If we had to flee, it would be a distraction that could potentially interfere with many of the things we need to work on for everyone in Massachusetts. We want to focus on recovery, not on confronting the grievances that political campaigns can escalate into, ”Baker and Polito said in an email.

Baker also had to weather Trump’s wrath.

Massachusetts Republicans have long leaned towards the moderate and progressive wing of the national party, but Baker made the division even more pronounced by refusing to endorse or even vote for Trump during his 2016 campaign. Baker again refused to vote for Trump’s re-election last year.

The public stance earned Baker the rebuke and nickname RINO – Republican in name only – from Trump, but likely only strengthened Baker’s popularity in Massachusetts, where voters rejected Trump by a double-digit margin in both elections.

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