BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s resolution to not search a 3rd time period has sparked a scramble amongst potential successors in a instantly wide-open race. And it’s raised questions in regards to the GOP’s future within the state and whether or not a lady lastly will break by way of one of many final glass ceilings in Massachusetts’ elective politics.
Can Republicans discover a method to hold on to the governor’s workplace — their solely remaining lever of energy in a state when Democrats maintain each different statewide workplace, each seat in Congress, and overwhelming majorities within the Massachusetts House and Senate?
And is Massachusetts, one of many nation’s most politically liberal states, lastly able to elect a lady to the nook workplace? Since its first governor, signer of the U.S. Constitution John Hancock, took workplace manner again in 1780, Massachusetts has elected an unbroken string of males as governor. Only one lady has served, however on an performing foundation: Lt. Gov. Jane Swift, a Republican, took over as governor in 2001 after Paul Cellucci turned ambassador to Canada.
With Baker out — and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito additionally taking a move — there’s no scarcity of introduced and attainable candidates from each events for the gubernatorial election in 2022.
On the Democratic facet, three candidates jumped into the working even earlier than Baker’s announcement. They embody Harvard professor Danielle Allen, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and former state Sen. Ben Downing.
But many political eyes are on greater names who’ve but to rule out a run, together with former Boston mayor and present U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and state Attorney General Maura Healey, who has change into a nationwide chief within the authorized push to carry firms and people accountable for the U.S. opioid dependancy and overdose epidemic. Fellow Democratic Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, recent off a defeat in her marketing campaign to change into Boston’s subsequent mayor, can be weighing a run.
On the Republican facet, the scenario is equally in flux.
While Baker stays in style in Massachusetts — together with with Democratic and impartial voters — he’s much less in style amongst conservative leaders of his social gathering and has clashed with present Massachusetts Republican Party Chair Jim Lyons, a staunch Donald Trump supporter.
Baker opted to not help Trump — and even vote for him — within the 2016 and 2020 elections. He stated he determined to not run once more for governor to as an alternative concentrate on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response.
“There is a ton of work that’s left to be done,” Baker stated.
Lyons welcomed Baker’s impending departure.
“It’s clear to me that Charlie Baker was shaken by President Trump’s endorsement of another Republican candidate in Geoff Diehl,” Lyons stated in a press release after Baker’s announcement. Trump additionally issued a press release calling Baker “bad news for the Republican Party.”
Diehl, a former GOP state consultant from Whitman who launched an unsuccessful problem to Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018, introduced in July he would search the social gathering’s nomination for governor. Diehl is a Trump supporter who served as co-chair of Trump’s Massachusetts 2016 presidential marketing campaign.
While Trump’s endorsement might assist Diehl with Republican main voters, it could possibly be a political albatross in a common election in a state that twice rejected Trump by double-digit margins.
Other potential GOP gubernatorial candidates embody former U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling — who led the faculty admissions investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues — Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell, and Shiva Ayyadurai, who final yr misplaced a Republican nomination bid for the U.S. Senate.
One of the highest potential candidates on the Democratic facet is Healey, who twice received statewide elections for legal professional common. Healey, with greater than $3.3 million in her marketing campaign account, could possibly be a formidable candidate. A fierce Trump critic, she has stated she’s contemplating a run.
As legal professional common, nevertheless, Healey faces a unusual hurdle in Massachusetts — the so-called “curse of the attorney general.” Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys common have sought the governor’s workplace. All failed, both by dropping their social gathering’s main, dropping the final election, or in a single case dying earlier than Election Day.
Healey would face one other problem shared with different potential Democratic candidates. Again, regardless of their liberal popularity, Massachusetts voters wish to elect Republican governors.
Of the previous 5 elected governors, 4 had been Republicans, going again to the election of former GOP Gov. William Weld in 1990.
Another attainable Democratic candidate, Walsh, would additionally start the marketing campaign with extensive identify recognition and a hefty $5.1 million left in his marketing campaign account. Walsh gained consideration regionally as he shepherded town by way of the primary yr of the pandemic. Unlike Healey, nevertheless, Walsh hasn’t run a statewide marketing campaign.
Another identify that inevitably surfaces in Massachusetts is that of a Kennedy — on this case, former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, who final yr launched an unsuccessful bid to unseat fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.
Kennedy hasn’t indicated that he’s enthusiastic about working for governor.
The state has made some belated progress in electing girls to high political workplaces.
In 2012, Massachusetts elected its first lady to the U.S. Senate when Warren crammed the seat previously held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. And simply final month, Boston tapped Michelle Wu as the primary lady and first Asian American elected to the mayor’s workplace.