GOP gov hopeful Doughty taps former rep as unofficial running mate

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

While Doughty and Campanale can tout themselves as a winning ticket for the GOP, it’s the Republican primary voters who will have the final say in that. Party nominees for governor and lieutenant governor are chosen separately in Massachusetts primaries, which means the Republican ticket that appears on the November ballot can end up being more of an arranged marriage than a well-considered coupling. 

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.” 

MICHAEL JONAS

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

Electricity charge dropped: House Speaker Ron Mariano avoids a political fight that could have scuttled his offshore wind legislation by dropping a plan to hike a charge on electricity bills to help pay for financial incentives he feels are needed to lure the offshore wind industry to Massachusetts. A new $1.50 a month charge on natural gas bills remains in the legislation.

–  “There will be other opportunities to put more money in this. We want to keep the debate about building an industry,” the speaker said. “We didn’t want this bill to get killed because of an argument over consumer electric bills.” Read more.

As the Mass GOP turns: The Massachusetts Republican Party announced that Jay McMahon, a conservative Cape Cod Republican, will run for attorney general. It was unusual for the party to announce an individual’s candidacy, but nothing is simple with Massachusetts Republicans who seem badly split on ideological grounds. 

– McMahon falls within the conservative, pro-Trump faction of the party, which controls the party apparatus itself. Meanwhile, Jay Doughty, a Republican running for governor, announced former state rep Kate Campanale would run for lieutenant governor as his running mate. Doughty is facing off against Geoff Diehl in the Republican primary, a race expected to showcase the ideological split within the party. Read more.

School buses go maskless: The Baker administration drops the requirement that children wear masks on school buses a day after students were allowed to return to classrooms without masks. Federal rules requiring mask-wearing on public transit and at airports remain in place. Read more.

OPINION

Fork in the road: US Rep. Jake Auchincloss calls COVID a fork in the road for the mental health of children and says the nation must address the root causes of the anxiety many kids are facing. Read more.

 

FROM AROUND THE WEB

 

MUNICIPAL MATTERS  

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno appoints the five members of a new commission to oversee the police, a week after the SJC ruled against Sarno and said the City Council had authority to demand the restoration of a Police Commission. (MassLive)

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu defended her proposal for a city ordinance to put limits on protests outside public officials’ homes, saying it will go through a full review process with the City Council and is not something she’s imposing by fiat. (Boston Herald

Boston will lift its mask mandate for most indoor settings on Saturday. (Boston Globe

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Biden condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in his State of the Union address and sought to rally bipartisan support for his pared-down domestic agenda. (Washington Post

ELECTIONS

Republican former Leicester state representative Kate Campanale announces a run for lieutenant governor, as the running mate of businessman and gubernatorial candidate Chris Doughty. (Telegram & Gazette)

Governor’s Councilor Mary Hurley announces that she will not seek reelection. Attorney Jeffrey Morneau, the former president of the Hampden County Bar Foundation, says he will run for the seat. (MassLive)

Democratic attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey has $4.2 million in the bank, after raising $412,000 in February. That’s nearly 12 times the war chest of her Democratic opponent, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz. (MassLive)

Well-known minister Miniard Culpepper joins the race for the Roxbury-based state Senate seat being vacated by Sonia Chang-Diaz to run for governor, joining state Reps. Nika Elugardo and Liz Miranda in the Democratic primary contest. (Boston Herald

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Although bans on Russian alcohol are largely symbolic, some Massachusetts package stores are pulling Russian-made brands from their shelves. (Salem News)

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg says the state pension fund has $140 million in investments tied to Russian companies, as a group of lawmakers call for divestment. (Gloucester Daily Times)

Major League Baseball cancels the start of the season as players and owners are unable to come to terms on a new labor deal. (NPR)

EDUCATION

A federal audit is raising lots of troubling questions about the state education department’s oversight of millions of dollars in aid for the schooling of more than 6,000 students who arrived in Massachusetts following the devastation four years ago from hurricanes Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. (Boston Globe)

The Boston School Committee is expected to sign off on a separation agreement for outgoing Superintendent Brenda Cassellius at its meeting tonight which will give her more than $300,000 as she heads out the door this spring. (Boston Herald)

UMass Amherst basketball coach Matt McCall won’t return next year after the school announced it was letting him go with one year left on his contract. The team has 12 wins and 16 losses so far this season. His salary is $750,000 this season and was scheduled to rise to $850,000 next season. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Justice Gonzalez, 19, sues his former teacher in the Lynn Public Schools, alleging the two of them carried on a sexual affair for five years before she dumped him. (Daily Item)

TRANSPORTATION

It was Day 1 for the two-year pilot program providing free bus service on the MBTA’s 23, 28, and 29 routes in Boston. (Boston Globe

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Environmental Protection Agency tells General Electric it can proceed with its plan to bury 1 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediments from the Housatonic River in a Lee landfill. (Berkshire Eagle)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A federal appeals court rejected an effort by Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph to have her obstruction of justice charge thrown out. (Boston Herald)

MEDIA

Newsbreak sees profit potential in delivering local news, either by linking to locally produced stories or covering local stories itself, as it is doing in Denver. (Nieman Journalism Lab)