Massachusetts Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker has surged out to a relatively huge lead in the latest poll and he’s doing it not just by corralling independents in addition to Republicans. He seems to be making inroads in the state’s cities, traditionally Democratic strongholds.
Democrat Martha Coakley is reeling on the heels of the Boston Globe poll that shows her trailing by 9 points, the largest lead either candidate has had to date. On Friday, Coakley tried to rally the troops by bringing in Hillary Clinton and the state’s big guns. US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who many think might or should challenge Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016) was there. Also on stage was out-going Gov. Deval Patrick.
Ironically, many in the state think Baker is following the model of Mrs. Clinton’s husband. Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham wrote Sunday that Baker is running …”as a Clinton Democrat [who] has given plenty of moderates reason to like him. Voters could be swayed by his argument for balance on Beacon Hill, or convinced he is the better manager. They might trust him more on taxes, or welfare. They might disagree with Coakley on education or DCF…”
Yet the thrust of Abraham’s column is that Coakley isn’t out of it by any stretch and that if she loses, it’s not for lack of warmth, inability to connect personally or hard work—exactly what she has been tagged with since her disastrous loss to Scott Brown in the 2010 US Senate race. Coakley might as well have been wearing that election-loss albatross instead of the string of pearls she had on in the appearance with Mrs. Clinton Friday. Every time it seems she to be getting past the effects of that race, any misstep brings it comes “flying” back.
For Baker’s part, he seems to be getting past his label with which he was tagged after losing his first bid for governor in 2010 (won by Patrick). He has thrown off the “cold, technocrat” description and is being embraced as more warm and emotional.
There is still a week to go and if in politics that’s a lifetime, in Massachusetts politics it’s several lifetimes.
Folks who live in the great state of Massachusetts are no strangers to Republican governors. In fact, before Patrick came into office in 2010, you have to go all the way back to Michael Dukakis to find a Democrat in that office (there’s been four GOP governors since then).