Tags: Massachusetts | GOP | governor race | midterms

GOP's Baker Riding Comfortable Lead in Mass. Gov. Race

GOP's Baker Riding Comfortable Lead in Mass. Gov. Race
Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Baker. (Mark M. Murray/The Republican/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 31 October 2014 02:33 PM

Republicans are set to recapture the governorship of Massachusetts, a deep-blue state dominated by Democrats at all levels of the commonwealth.

Last-minute surveys by the Boston Globe and Boston’s Suffolk University show Republican Charlie Baker with a comfortable lead over Democrat Martha Coakley in a race that some observers have dismissed as lackluster, except for the fish story.

Baker is facing ridicule over a tale he told Tuesday in the final televised debate with Coakley. Asked what would make him cry, Baker mentioned an encounter with a fisherman “soaked in sweat and salt water” who pressured his sons into joining him in the fishing trade, a dying industry, instead of going to college. Baker recalled the fisherman saying mournfully, "'I ruined their lives.'"

Reporters have been searching for that fisherman since the debate.

"Maybe O.J. Simpson could help Charlie Baker find his fisherman," quipped Eileen McNamara, a journalism teacher and former Boston Globe columnist.

Baker on Thursday suspended his campaign for two days "out of respect" for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, 71, who died Thursday after 21 years in office. Baker said on Twitter that he and his wife, Lauren, "are so sad to see him gone so soon."

Coakley is also taking hits for waffling in debates over raising taxes or granting driver licenses to illegal immigrants. Republicans compiled some of her missteps in a rollicking campaign ad called "Stumbling to the Finish Line."

Public opinion polls have consistently shown Baker, a 57-year-old health-care executive, closing on and then overtaking Coakley, the 61-year-old Massachusetts attorney general.

The Boston Globe poll released Thursday gave Baker a seven point lead over Coakley, while the Suffolk University poll showed Baker with a 3.4 point lead. Both surveys polled likely voters Oct. 26-29. The RealClearPolitics poll average shows Baker with a 4.2 point lead.

Boston Globe polling director John Della Volpe said, "Unless there’s a dramatic change of events ... this looks very solid for Baker."

The Globe found Baker with strong support among men, independents and voters who described themselves as moderate. He is trailing Coakley, 39 to 42, among women in the Globe poll, but 49 percent of those surveyed by Suffolk University agreed that Baker would "stand up for women’s rights." Baker, whose brother is gay, supports same-sex marriage and is pro-choice on abortion.

Despite those liberal views, Baker was supported by 91 percent of Massachusetts Republicans in the Globe poll. It found that Coakley is backed by only 71 percent of Democrats.

Both candidates were battered in past elections. In the 2010 election for governor, Baker lost to incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick by more than 6 percentage points. Coakley faced a humiliating loss to Republican Scott Brown in a 2010 special election to complete the term of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the chief of the Democratic Kennedy clan who died in 2009.

But in this campaign, Baker captured the prized endorsement of the liberal Boston Globe, which hailed him for his private-sector experience and criticized Coakley for failure to run on an "issue agenda."

"Effective government isn’t build on good intentions," the Globe said.

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Republicans are set to recapture the governorship of Massachusetts, a deep-blue state dominated by Democrats at all levels of the commonwealth.
Massachusetts, GOP, governor race, midterms
Friday, 31 October 2014 02:33 PM
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