GOP gov hopeful Doughty taps former rep as unofficial running mate
Wrentham businessman hopes Campanale pick will rev up campaign
CAN A LARGELY unknown gubernatorial candidate, who is the underdog in a primary race in a cratering political party, get a little oomph by announcing that a largely unknown former state rep will be his unofficial running mate? That sort of framing doesn’t suggest an auspicious impact. On the other hand, it’s hard to say that Chris Doughty had much to lose as he looks for a foothold in the Republican primary for governor.
Doughty, a Wrentham business owner and first-time candidate, appeared yesterday at a Worcester pub where he announced that former Leicester state rep Kate Campanale will run for lieutenant governor on a ticket with him. “Making life better for working families is at the very center of our campaign and is in both of our souls,” Doughty said, hitting on the cost-of-living theme that he has hammered since entering the race last month.
Doughty has struck a more moderate note in the race and is looking to replicate the success of the state’s two-term moderate Republican governor, Charlie Baker. He is up against former state rep Geoff Diehl, a hard-core Trump supporter who is in line with the right-wing bent of the party under its beleaguered chairman, Jim Lyons.
Nonetheless, Doughty and Campanale – who has a more conservative record on social issues like transgender rights and abortion – seemed to wave off any effort to necessarily pigeonhole them as a more moderate alternative to Diehl. “This election isn’t about Donald Trump or Joe Biden. It isn’t even about Charlie Baker,” Campanale said.
At this point, Campanale is the only declared Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. That presents a very real possibility that she could land on a ticket with Diehl.
Republicans in the state have taken to the idea of unofficial pairings ever since Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci successfully teamed up in 1990, going on to win that year’s election and score a landslide reelection victory four years later. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined together for a successful two-term run on Beacon Hill, and Doughty’s move also mimics Baker’s choice of a running mate with solid ties in Central Mass. – Polito was a Shrewsbury state rep and player in Worcester County politics.
Democrats have generally eschewed the practice, leaving it to voters to decide their ticket. Their last hold on the corner office nonetheless came with a solid pairing, as Deval Patrick and Tim Murray – another Central Mass. politico – wound up working well together.
“It’s a roll of the dice,” said Murray, who served as mayor of Worcester before being elected lieutenant governor. “I was lucky that Gov. Patrick and I hit it off on the campaign trail and shared views and an approach to governing once in office.”
“If it works, it can work well,” said Murray, who now helms the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve seen situations where it did not work out.”Democratic governor Ed King wound up paired with Lt. Gov. Tom O’Neill in a match made in something less than heaven, and Mike Dukakis and Evelyn Murphy had a famous falling out in 1990 when he accused her of plotting a palace coup as he left the country on a trade mission to Europe.
At this point, Massachusetts Republicans are a long way from having to worry about such intra-party squabbles in the state’s two top offices. Indeed, WBZ political analyst Jon Keller pens an obituary for the Mass. GOP in the new issue of Boston Magazine. He says the party’s hard turn to the right, and away from the recipe of fiscal prudence and social liberalism that Weld and Baker worked to such success, could finally sink a party with ever-shrinking registration numbers whose internal dynamics have too often resembled “a shootout in a lifeboat.”