Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker appeared to rule out a 2020 presidential run in a press conference Wednesday morning, a day after he won re-election to a second term.
Baker, a moderate Republican popular with voters in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, is the most popular governor in America, and his name has occasionally been mentioned as a potential 2020 contender. Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi wrote a column Wednesday speculating about a potential presidential run.
But while speaking Wednesday about everything he hopes to accomplish over the next four years, Baker said he "absolutely" plans to serve out his entire term. He was also asked if he plans to seek a third term as Massachusetts governor, but said it's way to early to answer that question.
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"We're not really thinking yet about that. We've been talking mostly about what we want to get done in a second term. It does seem really premature."
Baker said he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have really enjoyed their jobs and have appreciated the chance to work with their colleagues on issues they care deeply about.
"I really like this job, and I really appreciate the voters' decision to give us a chance to do it," he said. "Any decision about something like that would get made way down the road."
Baker did speak extensively about what Tuesday's election results said about what voters want from their politicians.
He said other moderate Republican governors Phil Scott in Vermont, Chris Sununu in New Hampshire and Larry Hogan in Maryland also won re-election, a sign that voters want to see their elected officials work together to get things done instead of sniping at each other.
"People want their public officials to spend a little less time yelling at each other and a little more time trying to actually accomplish things," he said.
Baker also spoke about some of his priorities for the coming years, including continuing to address the opioid epidemic, building more housing, developing Airbnb legislation, and finishing the work to fix the MBTA and the state's roads and bridges.
"There's plenty to do," he said. "I think the big message from voters last night was what people really want more than anything is progress, progress on the things that are really going to improve the quality of their lives here in Massachusetts."
Unofficial returns from Tuesday showed Baker winning about two-thirds of the vote in his race against Democrat Jay Gonzalez, including solid showings in Boston and other typically Democratic-leaning urban areas.
During the campaign, 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.