Amore looks for a Republican opening
Auditor candidate touts independence, Baker backing
THE GOOD NEWS for Anthony Amore is that Gov. Charlie Baker is endorsing his run for state auditor. The bad news for Amore is that this is news at all.
It ought to be a given that the lone Republican vying for the open auditor’s seat, which incumbent Democrat Suzanne Bump is giving up, would get the backing of the state’s two-term Republican governor. But nothing is a given these days in the state’s beleaguered Republican Party, which claims fewer than 10 percent of registered voters.
Not only is the popular Baker – along with his lieutenant governor, Karyn Polito – the only statewide office holder the party can claim, MassGOP leaders act like Baker’s exit can’t come soon enough.
The party has veered hard to the right under its Trump-backing chairman, Jim Lyons, who has clashed with Baker. As Baker prepares to take his leave after deciding against seeking a third term, he has so far concluded it’s slim pickings when it comes to statewide candidates to carry the party flag, with Amore his only endorsement for now at least.
Against that backdrop, Amore, who waged an unsuccessful run four years ago for secretary of state and is cut from the same moderate Republican cloth as Baker, seems to be a breath of reasonable air to the departing governor.
“As an independent and experienced watchdog, Anthony will be able to keep the checks and balances on Beacon Hill and help preserve and continue the work the Baker-Polito administration has done over the last seven years,” Baker wrote in a campaign email on Monday announcing his endorsement.
“It’s an honor and it’s energizing,” Amore said of Baker’s endorsement.
Amore said he hopes the endorsement serves as a signal to voters that he’s not part of the party’s hyper ideological hard right turn. “It means voters should understand that I would bring the same sort of governing philosophy that Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito brought to the State House, which is an attitude of good governance and a moderate view that it’s about professionalism,” said Amore.
The auditor’s office seems like the right race for that kind of message from a Republican in a state otherwise dominated by Democrats. The office’s formal charge is to conduct regular audits of the more than 200 state agencies, looking for signs of waste, fraud, or abuse.
“You can make the case that if you’re going to have someone in state government who doesn’t march to the same drummer, the auditor is probably the one to have,” said former Boston city councilor Larry DiCara – who quickly added that he’s enthusiastically supporting Chris Dempsey, one of two Democrats vying for the post.“I don’t think people on either side of the aisle think complete one-party control in a state is a good idea,” said Amore, who is the director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and previously worked to establish new security screening systems at Logan Airport and then nationally for the TSA following the 9/11 attacks.
“The turmoil has been well-documented, it doesn’t need more comment from me,” he said. “All I can do is put out my vision for the office, my vision of prudent Republicanism, and let the voters decide.”