Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek a third term in office, according to a statement from his office, forcing the Republican Party to defend an open gubernatorial seat next year in a deep blue state.
“After several months of discussion with our families, we have decided not to seek re- election in 2022,” Baker and his lieutenant governor, Karyn Polito, said in a statement on Wednesday. “This was an extremely difficult decision for us. We love the work, and we especially respect and admire the people of this wonderful Commonwealth.
Baker, who defied the political bent of the commonwealth by winning his first term in 2014 and reelection in 2018, represented the best chance for Republicans to hold on to the governor’s mansion in Massachusetts. But the governor had drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed conservative Republican Geoff Diehl.
“He’s done,” said a source familiar with Baker’s plans. “When Massachusetts Republicans get a Democrat governor, they can thank their beloved Donald Trump.”
Baker has been outspoken about his opposition to Trump. He told reporters that he left his ballot blank in 2016 and 2020 — meaning he did not vote for the Republican nominee. And Baker both supported the first impeachment investigation of Trump in 2019 and later said Trump should be removed from office because of the January 6 insurrection.
Trump has used his post-presidential endorsements to rebuke those who opposed him in office, including Baker.
Pro-Trump Republicans in Massachusetts, including state chair Jim Lyons and radio host Howie Carr, have followed the former President’s lead and repeatedly hammered Baker. And Diehl aligned himself fully with Trump and got the endorsement.
Republicans have won all but two Massachusetts gubernatorial elections since 1990, despite the state consistently backing Democrats in other statewide offices. Republican operatives in Washington believe it takes a certain type of figure to win — like former governors Bill Weld and Mitt Romney, along with Baker — and that Diehl does not fit into that mold.
“Charlie Baker has accomplished so much on behalf of his constituents in Massachusetts, and I’m incredibly proud to have worked closely with him at the Republican Governors Association for the last 7 years,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, co-chair of the Republican Governors Association. “Had he chosen to seek a third term I have no doubt he would have easily been re-elected because the voters recognize what a strong leader he has been for their state.”
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