Baker leaving office, but still campaigning

Gov. Charlie Baker is nearing the end of his two terms in office, but he’s still out there campaigning.

On Wednesday, he gathered across from the State House with his old boss, former governor Bill Weld, to lend support for the candidacy of Anthony Amore for state auditor.

He also endorsed Jesse Brown, a veteran from Plymouth, in his bid to unseat US Rep. William Keating in Congress.

He heads to Franklin on Thursday for a business roundtable discussion with Rep. Shawn Dooley of Norfolk, who is trying to oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Becca Rausch of Needham.

And a super PAC with close ties to Baker is beginning its push toward the November 8 election, spending nearly $130,000 supporting 11 Republicans, four Democrats, and one Independent running for legislative positions. 

Baker is the rare politician today who embraces the middle. He’s largely shunned by the right and the left, but nevertheless enjoys enormous popularity in Massachusetts. A poll released by the MassINC Polling Group on Thursday indicated 67 percent of Massachusetts voters view him favorably. 

The governor’s support for a candidate doesn’t assure victory, but it does prompt voters to give the candidate another look. 

Rausch tried to downplay Baker’s endorsement of Dooley, whom she has portrayed as a conservative extremist, by pointing to Baker’s endorsement of Thomas Hodgson, the sheriff of Bristol County and a strong supporter of Donald Trump. 

Some say the Hodgson endorsement runs against Baker’s brand. Others say the two have a lot in common on policing and public safety. Baker said endorsements for him aren’t always about ideology but communication. 

“There are a lot of people I’ve supported over the years, Democrats and Republicans by the way, who I don’t agree with,” Baker said. “I think for me, it’s more about can you have a conversation with somebody? Are you going to get what they believe when you talk to them? Are they going to be the person that tells you straight up what they think? And Tom has always been that kind of guy.”

The Massachusetts Majority super PAC is an extension of the Baker political philosophy. Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of people running for office as long as they don’t coordinate with the candidates. 

The super PAC spent $171,432 supporting 12 Democrats and three Republicans in their respective primaries, and all 15 emerged victorious. It had more than $1.4 million on hand heading into the general election to support what its chairman, Greg Lisciotti, called “a bipartisan slate of political centrists.” 

The super PAC’s latest campaign filing indicates it raised another $95,000, including $25,000 from Wayfair co-chair Steven Conine and his wife Alexi; $25,000 from car dealer Herb Chambers; $5,000 from Mike Kennealy, Baker’s secretary of housing and economic development; $10,000 from venture capitalist (and former MBTA general manager) Brian Shortsleeve; and $25,000 from SPS New England, a contractor that on Wednesday was selected as the low bidder on a $15.3 million Massachusetts Department of Transportation contract to make repairs to the Sumner, Callahan, Ted Williams, and Thomas P. O’Neill tunnels. 

The super PAC spent nearly $130,000 on direct mail advertising. The three biggest beneficiaries were Republican Sens. Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth ($20,461) and Bruce Tarr of Gloucester ($18,764), followed by Democratic Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport ($12,538).

The rest of the money was divvied up between nine Republican incumbent state reps facing Democratic challengers, three Democratic reps facing Republican or unenrolled challengers, and one Independent facing Republican and unenrolled challengers.

 BRUCE MOHL

 

NEW STORIES FROM COMMONWEALTH MAGAZINE

Bridge delayed: Repairing cracked welds will delay completion of the North Washington Street Bridge between Charlestown and the North End in Boston for at least a year. State officials say they aren’t at fault, but who will pay for the delay and the extra work is unclear. Read more.

What MBTA problems? A new poll indicates the MBTA’s problems are not affecting Gov. Charlie Baker’s popularity. Read more.

OPINION

High expectations: Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said the recent contract signing sets the stage for the school system’s success. Read more.

STORIES FROM ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB

 

BEACON HILL

Facing a shortage of foster homes, Department of Children and Families staff have had to resort to having children sleep in DCF offices as a stopgap measure in emergencies. (Boston Globe

At the Boston Science Museum, Gov. Charlie Baker holds a ceremonial bill signing of a bill naming the Podokesaurus holyokensis the official state dinosaur. (MassLive)

Joan Vennochi offers a well-deserved ode to indefatigable community organizer Lew Finfer, who is stepping down, at age 72, as head of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network. (Boston Globe

Attorney General Maura Healey pursues $16 million from a Wyoming company that never delivered the facemasks the state ordered. (WBUR)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS  

Problems seem to be mounting at the troubled Mass. and Cass area of Boston, where city officials are moving a tent city of homeless people off a main drag and onto a side street. (Boston Herald

The Brockton Enterprise starts a three-part series on the lives of homeless people in the city. 

Three clergy members chain themselves to Faneuil Hall demanding the name be changed because of Peter Faneuil’s ties to the international slave trade. (WBUR)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The pricetag for expansion of the Cooley Dickinson Hospital emergency department in Northampton has jumped 25 percent since last year. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Liz Truss announced she will resign as British prime minister only six weeks after taking office, after sending the economy into a tailspin through a set of huge tax cuts and other dramatic free-market-oriented moves. (New York Times

ELECTIONS

The Boston Globe “heartily” endorses Maura Healey for governor, making clear that it wasn’t a close call in deciding between the two-term Democratic attorney general and Republican former state rep Geoff Diehl, saying the knocks on Diehl begin with his “opportunistic plasticity on Donald Trump’s Big Lie. But after lauding her overall, the paper says her run has lacked bold ambition for solving big problems facing the state and has relied mostly on coasting “from photo op to photo op” on the campaign trail.  

The Berkshire Eagle endorses Anthony Amore for auditor over Sen. Diana DiZoglio, calling it a relatively simple choice. “In deciding who will lead the office charged with oversight of all Massachusetts bureaucracy, voters have the option between one candidate with considerable auditing experience and one candidate with none whatsoever. Mr. Amore is the one with the demonstrable skills to do the job, so we believe that job should go to him,” the editorial said.

Former Republican-turned-libertarian Massachusetts governor Bill Weld endorses Republican Anthony Amore for state auditor – literally singing his praises. (MassLive)

Healey and Diehl will square off tonight in their second – and final – televised debate. (Boston Herald)

It’s shaping up to be the year of the woman in Massachusetts politics, with female candidates poised to potentially hold five of the six statewide offices after the election, while women voters could be decisive in tipping other races, such as the ballot question on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Gaming Commission hears from opponents of a proposed thoroughbred racing track in Hardwick. (Telegram & Gazette)

Twenty-nine companies submitted forms to the Gaming Commission expressing interest in offering sports betting in Massachusetts, including some of the largest online sports betting companies. (MassLive)

EDUCATION

After four days of missed classes due to a teachers’ strike, Haverhill teachers reach an agreement with the School Committee on a new contract. (Eagle-Tribune)

TRANSPORTATION

The Herald News looks at how South Coast Rail will stack up against other methods of commuting to Boston, measured by cost and time. 

Never mind the Orange Line problems. The Red Line has been hobbled by speed restrictions along several stretches, making commutes longer now than in the past. (Boston Herald

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Vineyard Wind enters into a new partnership to train businesses that seek to enter the offshore wind industry. (Standard-Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The State Ethics Commission clears Worcester DA Joseph Early and police officials in a case that involved the redaction of information from the arrest report of a judge’s daughter. (Telegram & Gazette)

A state investigation blames the Quincy Retirement Board, the city’s IT department, and an investment manager for failing to implement basic safety measures that could have prevented a $3.5 million theft from the pension fund due to a cyber scam. (Patriot Ledger)

A Hadley woman is charged with multiple felonies after bringing bee hives to an eviction protest in Longmeadow and siccing the bees on law enforcement officials. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

PASSINGS

Dennis Leger, the Springfield Fire Department’s long-time public information officer who retired in 2020, dies at 68. (MassLive)