Massachusetts' Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is one of the most popular governors in the country, with even a majority of Democratic voters in the overwhelmingly liberal stronghold approving of his job performance. He maintains this rating largely by bending to the will of the voters and legislature on social issues, while distancing himself from former President Donald Trump.
But according to POLITICO, this distance from the former president has led to discontent from some Republicans in Massachusetts — and the party is arguing over whether they even want Baker to run for another term.
"Baker still has plenty of support within the party," reported Lisa Kashinsky. "But there's been talk of a censure and of party rule changes that could make things more difficult for Baker to win the nomination next year. The state GOP chair recently sought to diminish Baker's authority by knocking him off the committee that determines party endorsements. If the governor chooses to seek a third term in 2022 — he hasn't indicated his intentions yet — there are signs he could get a challenge on his right flank."
One measure under consideration is raising the number of delegates needed at the state's convention — which could block Baker in favor of former state lawmaker and Trump campaign co-chair Geoff Diehl. Massachusetts is a surprisingly friendly state to Republican governors, having elected several over the last decades, but they tend to be more moderate in the mold of Baker, giving a Trump-supporting candidate a more questionable shot at holding the office for the GOP.
"Unlike in many other states, Northeastern Republican governors like Baker and Vermont's Phil Scott have posted sky-high approval ratings in their states precisely because they rejected the former president and kept a distance from the national party," the report continued. "Now, in a party where loyalty to Trump has emerged as a key litmus test, a vocal contingent of Massachusetts Republicans are questioning whether there's still a place for Baker in the GOP, despite his record of electoral success."
One GOP strategist, Wendy Wakeman, noted Baker is, "a great candidate for Massachusetts, but he's not necessarily the best voice for the base." State committeewoman Amy Carnavale agreed, noting, "There is a hardcore group out there that will vote for anybody but him in a primary situation."
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