Was Baker talking a bit of trash about Healey?
Gov. Charlie Baker was talking on Monday about what makes him run for elected office, but it seemed like he also could have been talking a bit of trash about one of his potential rivals.
On the Boston Public Radio show, Jim Braude asked the governor yet again whether he intended to run for reelection. But this time he posed the question with a slight twist, asking whether he would ever consider running as an independent to avoid a fight with Geoff Diehl in a Republican primary where the state’s pro-Trump Republicans could nominate one of their own.
Baker made clear he hasn’t made up his mind about running for an unprecedented third straight term – he promised a decision soon — and he indicated he would run as a Republican if he did decide to go for another four years.
“I’ve been a Republican for most of my adult life and I believe in my brand of Republicanism,” Baker said. “I guess what I would say is that I’ve never run for anything based on whether or not I thought I could win, period.”
Baker said he ran for governor in 2010 even though he faced an incumbent (Democrat Deval Patrick) and another statewide officeholder (Treasurer Tim Cahill). He lost.
And then he ran for governor again in 2014 even though many people told him: “You’re a loser, why would you bother to run and lose again?” He won that race and won again in 2018.
“I don’t sit around and say to myself can I win or not,” Baker said. “To me the question always comes down to what I said to you before, which is do I have the will, the desire, and the agenda that I believe will be in the state’s best interest and the energy and commitment to deliver on it.”
Baker’s statement can be taken at face value, but it can also be viewed as an attempt to draw a distinction between the political calculus he practices and the approach taken by Attorney General Maura Healey. Healey clearly covets the corner office, but she has stayed on the sidelines while Baker makes up his mind.
Three other Democrats – former state senator Ben Downing, Harvard professor Danielle Allen, and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain — have already jumped into the Democratic primary race for governor. But Healey, whose nearly $3.3 million campaign balance and statewide name recognition dwarf the others, has played a game of wait and see.
A recent University of Massachusetts Amherst/WCVB poll indicates Baker would beat Healey in a head-to-head matchup if he could survive a Republican primary, while Healey would be the favorite if Baker chooses not to run.
Is that why Healey is playing the waiting game and putting off a decision?
Vaccine passport: In an interview on GBH’s Boston Public Radio show, Gov. Charlie Baker said Massachusetts and a number of other states are close to unveiling a scannable QR code that could be used to prove the holder is fully vaccinated. He also promised a decision soon on his reelection plans, said he would run as a Republican if he chooses to run again, and indicated he wants to keep working in some capacity. Read more.
UI uncertainty: The Baker administration hasn’t issued a monthly financial report on the state’s unemployment trust fund since June and the secretary of labor said on Monday she’s not sure when one will be finished. ”I hope to have a more concrete timeline in the near future,” said Rosalin Acosta.
— The lack of basic information on the fund’s balance has billion-dollar implications. The Legislature is trying to decide whether the fund needs a $500 million injection of ARPA funds and the Baker administration is considering pulling the trigger on a bond issue of as much as $7 billion. A commission set up to recommend changes in the way the fund operates also can’t do much without knowing basics about where the fund stands currently.
— The latest Treasury Department data indicate the fund has $2.9 billion on hand but owes $2.3 billion to the federal government for previous loans. It also appears the fund owes businesses roughly $500 million for previous over-assessments. Read more.
Unable to keep up: Human services agencies struggling to provide help to those with mental health and disability issues, as well as children and the elderly, are operating at less-than-full capacity due to staffing shortages exacerbated by low pay. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld says Gov. Charlie Baker could take a further hit among conservative Republicans if he follows through on talk he raised Monday of implementing a vaccine passport for admission to restaurants and other venues.
A state housing judge struck down an eviction moratorium imposed in August by former Boston acting mayor Kim Janey, saying it overstepped the city’s emergency public health powers. (Boston Globe)
A New Bedford mothers group has formed to fight against what they allege is the over-identification by police of young men in the city as gang members. (New Bedford Light)
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer rejected an emergency appeal by employees at Mass General Brigham seeking a religious exemption to the hospital system’s vaccine requirement. Six employees were fired for not complying and one resigned. (Associated Press)
Massachusetts governments and nonprofits have gotten $808 million so far from FEMA reimbursements to cover COVID-related expenses, and more money is still available. (Salem News)
The $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation is funded with lots of new taxes on the wealthy, but it also raises the deduction for local tax payments by wealthier tax filers in high-cost states. (Boston Globe)
Nick Bernier, a Democratic attorney from Fall River, is challenging Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. (Herald News)
Jack Dorsey is stepping down as CEO of Twitter, the company he co-founded. He is being replaced by Parag Agrawal, the firm’s chief technology officer. (NPR)
The state’s community colleges are experiencing steep enrollment drops as students hold back returning to pre-pandemic studies at two-year schools. (Boston Globe)
A new clue emerged in the Gardner Museum art theft, as a retired Boston jeweler says shortly after the March 1990 robbery a local hood asked him to appraise an eagle-shaped finial that was among the items stolen from the museum. (Boston Globe)
Boston City Councilor Frank Baker asks Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration how fare-free bus routes can be maintained after federal ARPA money runs out. Casey Brock-Wilson, director of strategic partnerships for the city, says the two-year initiative will give the city time to find other funding sources. (WBUR)
Chain saw billboards in the Pioneer Valley are being paid for by a company called Carbon Works of Minnesota, which encourages forest management and helps landowners gain access to the California carbon market. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
A civil suit alleges the state Parole Board is not following a 1955 law allowing parole to end after a certain amount of time. “The statute exists on paper, but not in reality,” the suit says. (WBUR)
District Court Judge Paul Smyth ordered a man accused of second-offense drunk driving be held on $10,000 bail after learning the defendant had defaulted on previous court dates and spent four years as a fugitive. The Berkshire County district attorney’s office had recommended the defendant be released on his own personal recognizance. (Berkshire Eagle)
A state Appeals Court upholds rape, kidnapping, and other charges against Bernard Sigh, the ex-brother-in-law of former governor Deval Patrick. (Patriot Ledger)
The State Police are investigating a video that appears to show a state trooper sleeping in his cruiser. (MassLive)
The late Rev. Joseph Quinlan, the long-time director of Cathedral High School in Springfield, is added to a Diocese list of credibly accused sexual abusers based on a 1974 allegation of abuse involving a minor. (MassLive)
MEDIANewly released documents show CNN’s Chris Cuomo was more extensively involved than previously known in efforts to help his brother Andrew fend off sexual harrassment charges as governor of New York, raising questions about whether he crossed the line in using his position as a prominent cable TV anchor to advocate for his brother. (Washington Post)
Lee Enterprises has adopted a poison pill strategy to prevent a takeover by Alden Global Capital. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)