Charlie Baker Recasts Himself As Big Thinker In Gov Race

September 4, 2013

The yard is lush, the background music soothing, the outfit disarmingly casual. And as Republican Charlie Baker announces his candidacy for governor in a new web video released earlier Wednesday, his rhetoric is anything but combative.

“I care about being a good husband to my wife, Lauren, and a loving and responsible father to our children,” Baker says, speaking directly to the camera. “I care about our community, where we’ve raised our family, and about being a good son and brother. And as corny as it may sound, that’s exactly why I want to be your governor.”

Two years ago, when Baker mounted what many thought was an eminently winnable challenge to incumbent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, his tone was harsher. His campaign used the populist catchphrase “Had Enough?” — and cast Baker as a change agent who would eliminate corruption and dysfunction on Beacon Hill.

Now, however, Baker is styling himself as a big thinker who can rise above partisan bickering.

“Let’s rise above the politics,” he suggests in his kickoff video. “Here’s an idea: bipartisan leadership focused on growing our economy Let’s aim high. Let’s be great, Massachusetts!”

While Baker is expected to easily secure the GOP nomination, the Democratic nominee will have to survive a bruising primary. There are already four Dems in the race – and at least three others seriously considering a run. But at a press conference this afternoon, Mass. Dems chair John Walsh promised that competition would ultimately give his party a better nominee.

“We have lots of very talented people,” Walsh said. “And all of them are going to compete to show who has the best plan, who has the best experience, who has the best strategy.”

Walsh also made it clear Dems will attack Baker the same way they did last time – by tying Baker’s tenure as the state’s Secretary of Administration and Finance to the financial and logistic problems that plagued the Big Dig.

“Those years of Republican governors are most impactful on us today based on a series of fiscal shell games that put costs into the future, that apparently were not straightforward in the way they were dealt with,” Walsh said. “And Charlie Baker is the author of the Big Dig financing plan.”

We’ll soon see how Baker fights back. The newly minted GOP candidate for governor holds his first public appearance of the 2014 campaign tomorrow.

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