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Baker accepts 3 debates; Dem challenger wanted 5

September 6, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s campaign said Thursday it had agreed to three debates in the fall with Jay Gonzalez, the Democratic nominee for governor.

Earlier in the day, the Democrat had announced he was accepting invitations from five organizations looking to host debates, and had asked Baker to accept all five as well.

Baker’s campaign says it agreed to debates to debates that will be hosted by WBZ-TV, WGBH, and the third by a consortium of media outlets that includes The Boston Globe, WBUR-FM, WCVB-TV, WGGB-TV, WSHM-TV and the University of Massachusetts.

There was no immediate word on dates, times or locations.

Gonzalez’s campaign was “disappointed” that Baker rejected the other debates that had been proposed by media outlets in Worcester and Springfield, and by Telemundo Boston, said Kevin Ready, the Democrat’s campaign manager.

“We owe voters the opportunity to see and hear our contrasting visions and leadership styles for the whole state,” Gonzalez said in an earlier statement.

Also Thursday, Baker’s campaign said 22 mayors, 10 of whom are Democrats, had endorsed the governor’s re-election bid.

Among the Democrats backing Baker over Gonzalez was Springfield’s Domenic Sarno, the mayor of the state’s third-largest city.

In a statement, Sarno credited the Baker administration with being “responsive to the perspectives and needs of local officials,” and helping his city — where Massachusetts’ first resort casino recently opened — make infrastructure improvements.

Sarno endorsed Democrat Martha Coakley over Baker in the 2014 governor’s race.

Other mayors who are Democrats but listed as backing the Republican incumbent include Brian Arrigo, of Revere; Jasiel Correia, of Fall River; Stephen DiNatale, of Fitchburg; Scott Galvin, of Woburn; Donna Holoday of Newburyport; Daniel Rivera, of Lawrence; Bill Samaras of Lowell; Brian Sullivan, of Westfield; and Joe Sullivan, of Braintree.

Seven independents and five Republican mayors also endorsed Baker, the campaign said. There are 47 mayors total in Massachusetts.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh endorsed Gonzalez at a Democratic unity meeting on Wednesday, saying the state needed a governor with “bold vision.”

Gonzalez previously announced the support of several other mayors, including Cambridge’s Marc McGovern, Northampton’s David Narkewicz, and Framingham’s Yvonne Spicer, the state’s only black mayor.

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