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Gov. Baker Cruises to Re-election Win

November 7, 2018

By Mary Markos

Boston Herald

BOSTON -- Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has won a second term by a roughly 2-1 margin, holding on to the Corner Office with the help of numerous Democrats who left their own party’s candidate high and dry.

Baker, who has been ranked the nation’s most popular governor and touts his ability to work with both sides of the aisle, cited his four-year track record on issues including the opioid crisis, healthcare, infrastructure, women’s health and his work on the MBTA in his bid for a second term.

Gonzalez repeatedly tried to paint Baker as a conservative enabler throughout the campaign -- while the famously left-friendly GOP governor pointed to his bipartisan track record and Democratic support.

Baker has earned endorsements from Democrats, independents and Republicans, including five Democratic legislators and 21 mayors. Organizations that generally support the Democratic ticket have remained neutral in the race, including Planned Parenthood, the Service Employees International Union and the Environmental League of Massachusetts.

Baker weathered the so-called Troopergate scandal -- in which his administration was implicated in the whitewashing of a judge’s daughter’s arrest report -- followed by a series of State Police overtime theft indictments, while State Police concealed the report of his son’s questioning in an alleged airline groping incident. Baker also was hit over the MBTA’s chronic performance woes. In the last two weeks, his administration handed about nearly $90 million in local grants in what critics called a blatant vote-buying effort.

Political pundits say that in the Trump era, Baker’s victory is a particularly impressive accomplishment in deep blue Massachusetts.

“He got 48 percent of the vote in 2014, now he’s re-elected in a landslide. That in itself is an amazing accomplishment,” Republican political consultant Eric Fehrnstrom said. “He did it, of course, by focusing on the economy and by making progress on opioids. He also was smart in being a strong voice against Donald Trump and also by co-opting issues that have traditionally belonged to the Democrats.”

As an vocal never-Trumper who is popular and has now as expected won re-election, Baker has been mentioned as someone who could represent a more moderate future for the Republican Party nationally.

Fehrnstrom said he doesn’t think Baker has an interest in becoming a national voice.

But Democratic strategist Scott Ferson said Baker would be an “attractive” national Republican candidate.

“I think his whole DNA is built around being manager and a governor, but governors make very attractive presidential candidates,” Ferson said. “It sets him out for traditional Republicans as a model for how to succeed in the country moving forward.”

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