Last week, President & CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care head Charlie Baker threw himself into the gubernatorial race, immediately establishing himself as the most legitimate Republican candidate to announce thus far, and thus the front-runner for that party.
Immediately, there’s the matter of whom he’ll run with, if anyone.
For all intents and purposes, save for the minor detail of actually being asked, Republican State Representative Karyn Polito of Shrewsbury is all-in. She’s already expressed her desire for the job, and on Tuesday’s Jordan Levy Show, interviewed by Levy, Lacombe and this reporter, Polito sounded the full-fledged candidate, hitting her talking points on issues and on the direction of the party.
“We need to get back to being the party of good ideas,” she said at one point.
Polito was clear on her desire, (“I do think I’m an attractive candidate for him to consider,”) and gushed about her would-be (if he’ll have her) boss, saying about Baker, “I like his style. [He is] one that can turn around a problem.”
Of course, beyond her political qualifications, Polito would make sense for Baker to choose for another reason. Save for 1992, every winning gubernatorial slate – and at least one on the losing side – has featured a candidate from Central Massachusetts. Polito would potentially offer an electoral draw for regional residents looking for a familiar face who is anyone-but-Tim Murray.
So far, speculation has rested on what Polito would do with Baker, not on her own. Would she consider a solo run, should Baker decide not to campaign as a ticket? Polito tactfully says that the “team approach streamlines the message and conserves resources,” but the truth is, Polito would have a harder time establishing a statewide profile without Baker than with him. Fundraising would also be easier, though Polito ended 2008 with a respectable $138,000 in the bank.
Polito allows she has given some thought to running as an independent candidate, but allows it would bring a whole other set of challenges.
To date, Polito says she hasn’t talked to Baker about the possibility of teaming up.