Baker Defeats Gonzalez in Mass. Governor's Race

Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican popular with voters in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, has been re-elected to a second four-year term.

Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito turned back a challenge Tuesday from Democrat Jay Gonzalez, a former state budget official, and his running mate, Quentin Palfrey.

"I think at the end of the day, leadership won," said Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, a Democrat who crossed party lines to support Baker.

Baker touted the state's strong economy and low unemployment, his administration's progress in stabilizing the state's finances without broad tax increases, and steps taken to tackle the opioid addiction crisis.

"Folks, your hard work paid off — our hard work paid off," Baker said in his victory speech. "The people of the Commonwealth like what we do and they like how we do it, so much so they gave us a big win and the rest of the night off. But they want us back to work in the morning, and you know what, we're going to be there."

The governor also spoke to the divisive nature of politics in the country today, saying, "we won't always agree." But he said the only way to make progress is by working together.

"Today, the voters have spoken, and it seems like they like what we're doing and the way we go about it," he said. "So here's the good news — that colalborative, purposeful and humble approach to governing is exactly what you're going to get from us and from our team for the next four years, and that's going to be non-stop, pedal to the metal, let it rock!"

Baker has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, who is unpopular in Massachusetts. But Gonzalez criticized Baker for endorsing other pro-Trump Republicans, including U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl, who lost Tuesday.

"It's not exactly the result we were hoping for, but we gave it one hell of a run, didn't we?" Gonzalez said in his concession speech. He congratulated Baker on his re-election and thanked him for his service and for committing to serve another four years.

Decision 2018: Live Election Results

Source: AP
Credit: Sam Hart/NBC

"It's a demanding job," he said. "It's not easy putting yourself out there in a public way every single day, and anyone who does it deserves our respect and our thanks. In a time of divisiveness and incivility in our national politics, Governor Baker also deserves credit and our thanks for the civil, respectful and collaborative approach he has taken to governing."

At the polls Tuesday, Baker had said he felt good about his chances.

"I do feel very good about what I've been hearing out and about for the past few weeks from voters — from Democrats, Republicans and independents — about how much they appreciate the collaborative approach we've taken to governing."

With a 70 percent approval rating, Baker is the most popular governor in the country.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us