When Gov. Charlie Baker sailed to reelection in 2018, he nearly won the city of Boston, a bastion of Democrats.
Baker and his fellow Republican, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, came in just 3,897 votes (49 percent) behind Democrats Jay Gonzalez and Quentin Palfrey (51 percent), winning a second four-year term for the Baker-Polito administration. The Republican ticket won statewide with 67 percent.
Baker, who hasn’t yet said whether he plans to run for a third term in 2022 as the field of Democratic challengers keeps expanding, has remained popular with Democrats as he angered Republicans by criticizing Donald Trump during the reality TV star’s campaign and his tenure in the White House. He also had a close relationship with former Mayor Marty Walsh during the Dorchester Democrat’s time in City Hall. (Walsh did publicly endorse Gonzalez.)
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But he’s steering clear of the Boston mayor race, which is a nonpartisan affair, at least when it comes to the ballot.
The major candidates are all Democrats: Acting Mayor Kim Janey, former City Hall economic development chief John Barros, District 4 Councillor Andrea Campbell, City Councillors At-Large Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George, and state Rep. Jon Santiago. The Sept. 14 preliminary will winnow the field to two candidates for the November general election.
There is some precedent for Baker stepping in to help Democrats: As recently as 2020, he backed Springfield-based Congressman Richard Neal, the House Ways and Means chairman, over Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.
But when asked by the Reporter about an endorsement in the Boston mayoral race, Baker, a Swampscott resident, opted to say he and Lt. Gov. Polito have worked “extremely closely” with city and town officials across the state.
“We had a very good relationship with former Mayor Walsh and his team, and we have a good working relationship with Mayor Janey and her team,” Baker said Thursday during an event in Quincy. “And I sincerely doubt we’re going to do anything other than support whoever it is that wins the race in Boston because we’re going to want to be their partner, too.”