Charlie Baker

It Doesn't Sound Like Gov. Baker Will Run as an Independent If He Seeks Reelection

A recent poll showed the governor trailing GOP candidate Geoff Diehl among likely Republican primary voters

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he expects to announce a decision on whether he will seek reelection in 2022 "soon," and if he does decide to run, it's a "reasonable assumption" that it will be as a Republican.

A poll last month showed that sticking with his party might not be Baker's best path, as potential Republican challenger Geoff Diehl has 50% support from likely voters, compared to 29% for Baker.

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But Baker didn't sound like that will sway him during an interview on GBH's Boston Public Radio on Monday.

"Well, I've been a Republican for almost all of my adult life, and I believe in my brand of Republicanism," he said. "I guess what I would say is I've never run for anything based on whether I thought I could win."

Asked by co-host Jim Braude if that mean's he'll run as a Republican if he seeks reelection, Baker replied, "I think that's a reasonable assumption to make."

Asked multiple times when he expects to make a decision, the governor would say only that he's close.

"It's coming soon, Jim, I promise," Baker said. "I said soon. When you're 65 years old, soon can cover a lot of territory."

"We're getting pretty close... I said we're getting pretty close," when pressed again.

A new poll showed in a hypothetical matchup, Baker would beat popular Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey 32% to 26%, with Diehl coming in third at 21%. But he'd have to survive a GOP primary first.

"I think Charlie Baker is wildly popular with voters, and that he could win running as an independent or as a Republican," Republican consultant Rob Gray said recently. "He has two paths open to him."

Gray said the primary may look good for Diehl on paper, but when it comes to the actual race, it is Baker who has the experience.

"Charlie Baker would use his money and his influence to get unenrolled voters voting in the Republican primary, which is certainly achievable," he said.

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