Republican Charlie Baker Courting Democrats in Massachusetts Governor’s Race

Charlie Baker spent more than an hour taking questions from Dorchester voters

Republican Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker spent more than an hour taking questions from voters at a town hall in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, an historically Democratic stronghold, which was made clear by several attendees.

"I've been in Boston 30 years and I've voted for the Democrat every time. So tell me why I should change that this time around?" Paul Ridker asked the candidate.

It was Baker's opportunity to launch into one of his favorite arguments.

"We don't have any competition on Beacon Hill. It's one team, one party, one set of ideas. They're nice people, but they all play for the same team, so they're never going to push each other hard in any direction one way or the other," he said.

Baker has spent significant time courting urban voters, Sunday in East Boston, Chinatown and Dorchester, and he seemed comfortable talking on a wide range of urban issues, whether a question on partnering with local churches or about city schools from a Metco fourth grader.

Alveta Haynes, a Democrat, didn't think she'd ever consider a Republican again, but added, "He knew his audience, he knew who he was talking to and has some sense of how to respond to the questions. So that makes a difference. I think I find him to be more personable than I get from seeing little snap shots of him."

"I've been voting Democrat for a number of years, but once I've heard in the background of Charlie Baker and his vision, I might reconsider," Betsy Vedrine said.

Martha Coakley, unable to attend the town hall due to a long planned personal commitment, had something to say about Baker's attempt to connect with urban voters.

"He talks about numbers, he talks about a lot of things that are different from what he was talking about in 2010. But he's not ready to put his money where his mouth is on these issues," she said.

Coakley slammed Baker's record on welfare reform, saying as Health and Human Services secretary in the 1990s, he let welfare fraud cases languish and proposed cutting benefits to new mothers.

"It's just another day and another half baked attack from the Attorney General," Baker responded.

As for that dyed in the wool Democrat at the town hall who's never voted republican before.

"I'm more open to this, this time around," Ridker said. 

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