In Gubernatorial Primaries, Baker Easily Wins GOP Nod, Gonzalez to Represent Dems in Nov.
By Alexi Cohan
Gov. Charlie Baker beat back a conservative opponent to capture Tuesday night’s primary on the Republican side, after he predicted turnout may just be one of the highlights of the night.
“The turnout may surprise people in a positive way,” Baker said last evening on Boston Herald Radio, adding the end of the long weekend may have helped remind people to hit the polls.
Baker was declared the winner against Scott Lively.
On the Democratic side, Jay Gonzalez won the Democratic nomination for governor in Massachusetts, defeating longtime political activist Robert Massie.
Gonzalez served as secretary of Administration and Finance under former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.
Both candidates stressed a progressive agenda that included universal health care coverage, stronger protection for immigrants and increased investment for transportation and education.
Gonzalez says incumbent Baker has failed to achieve tangible progress in improving the performance of the Boston-area’s aging transit system or in narrowing the state’s educational achievement gap.
The 47-year-old Ohio native has lived in Massachusetts since 1998.
Of Tuesday’s results, Baker said he’d be happy with a simple majority of the vote, saying he’s familiar with close calls.
“Fifty-one percent seems like a good number,” Baker said. “I’m very familiar with really close elections.”
Baker beat Martha Coakley by a little more than 40,000 votes in 2014. He’s collected far more than that Tuesday night, according to early results. Baker was ahead of Lively 66 to 35 percent.
Althea Silver of Newton said she wants to see improvements in the MBTA since she takes the subway to work, adding “there needs to be a balance. If I’m paying more, I want better service.”
She said she wants to see a new governor in office.
“I think it’s time for some new blood in the governor’s seat. Baker isn’t doing a bad job, I just think someone else could do better. I think we need to keep the Democrats in office,” she added.
David McClean of Newton disagreed, saying he wants to see Baker win.
“I think he’s done a good job,” McClean said, but he was motivated to vote as part of his civic duty.
“I would like to see a more unified United States,” he said, arriving at the polling center with his 2-year-old daughter. He added he came out to vote “for her future.”
Massie said he was very “up” and optimistic last night. He visited several polling centers and said voters “did their homework.”
He said Massachusetts has “systemic problems” that can only be fixed with long-term commitment. Massie’s main issues and messages include climate change, health care, renewable energy and public transportation.
“I’m very hopeful that no matter what happens in this race that people understand we could be doing much better,” he said. “I think that the Massachusetts tradition is to dream big and go get it and that isn’t what is happening right now.”
Lively said “win or lose,” he sees the state GOP party becoming more of a force.
“In any case I am not giving up and we are going to flip Mass red,” he said. “Massachusetts has a serious problem with corruption of different forms. The solution to all of that is ethics.”