Gov. Baker announces he won’t seek third term, joined by Lt. Gov. Polito in passing on reelection bid

Then-Mayor Walsh, Lt. Governor Polito and Governor Baker (L to R) pose in front of the Scollay Square sign at the opening of the Government Center T station reopening on March 21, 2016. (Photo by Nikita Sampath/BUNS)

By Talia Lissauer
Boston University News Service

After serving two terms as the state’s 72nd governor, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will not seek a third.

In a joint statement to supporters, the two moderate Republicans cited the need to focus on their jobs instead of reelection campaigning as the reason for not running, after months of ducking the question from reporters.

“We have a great deal of work to do to put the pandemic behind us, keep our kids in school, and keep our communities and economy moving forward,” the letter noted. “We want to focus on recovery, not on the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into.”

The letter also addressed some of the unexpected challenges the two have faced while in the office, including a natural gas explosion and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But with your support, and the creativity and resilience of the people of Massachusetts, we worked through these and other unanticipated crises and events to move our state forward,” the letter stated.

For months, when asked if he would seek a third term, Baker said he was “close” to a decision or will be announcing it “soon.”

When Baker took office in January 2015, his main priorities included combating the opioid crisis, boosting the job economy and addressing the homelessness crisis.

Despite Massachusetts being a deep-blue state, the state has a long-standing history of electing Republicans to its highest office. Only one Democrat, Deval Patrick, has won the race since Michael Dukakis’ last term in 1991.

Democrats Danielle Allen, a Harvard professor; Sonia Chang-Díaz, a state senator whose district includes parts of Boston; and Ben Downing, a former state senator have all officially declared their bid for governor, along with Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state representative.

More are expected to join the race, with some pundits eyeing state Attorney General Maura Healey for an announcement to run. 

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