Toppling Baker top of mind for Dems

The Democratic Party in Massachusetts is riding high. Heading into the election just two weeks away, party members control the entire congressional delegation, are looking to add to their dominance in the Legislature, and have a lock on four of the six constitutional offices.

It’s those two unclaimed constitutional offices for governor and lieutenant governor that are nagging at party leaders, and prompting Bob Massie and Mike Lake to challenge Gus Bickford for the party’s chairmanship in an election that will take place two weeks after the November 3 national election.

The big question mark in the race for state party chair is how to take out Gov. Charlie Baker in 2022 if he runs for office again, or Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito if the governor steps aside.

Polito would be the far easier challenge. Baker has brought her into the public eye during the coronavirus pandemic, designating her as co-chair of the state’s reopening committee and giving her a platform where she can interact regularly with the press. But she still remains in Baker’s shadow, the understudy waiting for her chance.

Baker, meanwhile, gives little indication which way he is leaning. He still seems to enjoy his job and, amazingly, seems that rare politician who is hard to define politically. President Trump calls him a RINO and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr calls him Tall Deval, but liberal Democrats still chafe at his reluctance to raise taxes and his refusal to extend the eviction moratorium.

Baker has even navigated the Trump tilt of the state Republican Party without missing a beat. After Trump partisans seized control of the party, Baker pulled his fundraising operation out and coordinated the setup of a super PAC that has raised more than $1.5 million and spent $600,000 on a wide assortment of both Democratic and Republican candidates.

Bickford, who came into office in 2016 promising to oust Baker, hasn’t had much success. He has tried just about everything, slamming him for privatizing services at the MBTA, for failing to criticize Trump enough, and, in the wake of four derailments, for not personally riding the T to experience what riders are experiencing.

None of the attacks did much damage, although Baker earlier this year did start riding the T into Boston from his home in Swampscott. He’s even put his experience on the T to good use, urging riders to get back on board. “I can’t think of a less risky activity,” he said.

Neither Massie or Lake have laid out a specific game plan for taking out Baker if he decides to run again, but it’s clearly on their minds.

“We have to make sure the next governor is prepared to rebuild Massachusetts in a way that helps everyone in the Commonwealth,” Lake, a two-time former statewide candidate for office who runs the global non-profit Leading Cities, told State House News.

Massie, who has run for statewide office twice, told Politico that a lot has changed over the last four years. “It’s not the same world, it’s not the same America, it’s not the same Massachusetts. And I just don’t think the party is doing enough to bring new people in and new energy, young people and so forth, but also to meet those challenges,” Massie said. “As long as the party is still unclear about structures or still battling internal issues, it’s going to be harder to beat [Baker].”




T notes: An Allston I-90 throat consensus seems iffy, which means Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack could opt to go with a bare-bones replacement of the Turnpike viaduct and skip the rest or the $1 billion project. Also, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, and ferry and commuter rail supporters urge the T not to move forward with service cuts. And Monica Tibbits-Nutt, the vice chair of the Fiscal and Management Control Board, says T diversity efforts are broken.

A coalition of groups is pushing for changes in the admissions process for voc tech schools, saying the current selective entry standards unfairly exclude poor and minority students.

Municipal leaders, hoping to protect the brick-and-mortar marijuana businesses they have been dealing with, are urging the Cannabis Control Commission not to allow delivery companies to sell directly to customers.

With the state’s eviction ban lifted, the next move is up to the state’s landlords, who will send notices to quit to tenants who haven’t paid their rent.

A lawsuit over civil commitments for men with substance use disorders targets the Hampden  County sheriff’s program.




President Trump says Dr. Anthony Fauci has been “a disaster” and says the public is growing weary of the focus on the coronavirus pandemic. (Washington Post)

USA Today covers the struggle over a COVID-19 stimulus deal, and what we need to know about the negotiations.

The Justice Department plans to file suit today against Google, charging it with maintaining an illegal monopoly over internet searches. (New York Times)

A new suicide prevention hotline that can be reached by dialing a three digit number — 988 =- is signed into law, a provision championed by US Rep. Seth Moulton. (The Salem News)


The Supreme Court rules that Pennsylvania can count ballots postmarked before but received up to three days after the election. (NPR)

More than 800,000 ballots have already been cast early in the presidential election. (MassLive) That’s more than 17 percent of Massachusetts voters, writes GBH, which spoke with town clerks.

Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld says a Biden administration would be run by “the far left,” but Politico reports that Biden’s transition team is vetting Republicans for potential cabinet posts. Gov. Charlie Baker is reported to be among those whose name is being floated.

A Herald editorial says there may be a hidden Trump vote that will provide a big surprise on Election Day.


The Red Sox owners are planning to spread out and partner with a developer on a massive five-acre mixed use redevelopment of an area adjacent to Fenway Park. (Boston Globe)

Worcester officials remain confident about their economic renaissance despite the pandemic. (MassLive)

Chatham Board of Health recently voted to require restaurants to post a notice outside entryways to their buildings to let the public know when a patron, employee or vendor has tested positive for the virus. (Cape Cod Times)

Could another COVID-19 surge lead to another shortage of basic household staples at grocery stores? (Boston Globe)


City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George is calling on the Boston School Committee to postpone its planned vote on Wednesday on a proposed new admission system for the city’s three exam schools that would use Zip codes to allot seats throughout the city. (Boston Herald)

With Worcester students set to learn remotely through January, parents are asking schools to open sooner for in-person learning. (Telegram & Gazette)

Nearly 2,000 Boston students are waiting for a special education assessment because of a backlog caused by the pandemic. (Boston Herald)

New Bedford area schools are moving forward with reopening phases. (Standard-Times) 


New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is asking the US Supreme Court to block Massachusetts from collecting income tax from New Hampshire residents who are working remotely at home for firms in Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

Jury trials were supposed to start October 23 in state courts, but they will now be pushed back at least until November 9. (Eagle-Tribune)

After 34 years in prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit, Thomas Rosa is released from jail as the courts consider his motion for a new trial. (MassLive)


The union representing workers at the Sacramento Bee says the company is seeking to tie worker wages to the number of reader clicks their stories receive. (Twitter)

As local news dies, a pay-for-play network rises in its place. (New York Times)

The New Yorker suspends staff writer Jeffrey Toobin for masturbating during a Zoom call. Toobin said he didn’t realize his camera was on. (Vice)


Jack Good, North Shore civic leader and long-time vice president for development at Beverly Hospital, dies at 77. (The Salem News)