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Republican Trump critic Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker opts OUT of re-running in 2022

Republican Trump critic Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker opts OUT of re-running in 2022 and opens the door for a Democrat

  • A highly popular governor and a rare statewide Republican in the northeast, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday he won’t seek reelection in 2022
  • Baker, after his criticisms of Trump, is now more popular with Democrats and Independents than Republicans
  • He is one of few northeastern GOP governors in Democratic states, including Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
  • Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said that they’d come to the decision so they could focus their last year in office on recovery from the pandemic 


A highly popular governor and a rare statewide Republican in the northeast, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday he won’t seek reelection in 2022. 

Baker, who according to polling is more popular with Democrats and Independents, would have faced a primary from a Trump-backed challenger and a general election potentially against the state’s popular Democrat attorney general Maura Healey.

Baker first ran for governor in 2010, narrowly losing to incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick. Four years later he ran again and edged out over then-state attorney general Martha Coakley, a Democrat. He won again in 2018 by a landslide. 

Baker’s nonideological stance – he instituted aggressive coronavirus restrictions, was a proponent of abortion rights and some gun control measures – would have likely fared well in heavily blue Massachusetts, if he could make it through the primary. He is one of few northeastern GOP governors in Democratic states, including Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. 

‘This was an extremely difficult decision for us,’ Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito wrote in a letter announcing their decision not to seek reelection. ‘We love the work, and we especially respect and admire the people of this wonderful Commonwealth. Serving as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts has been the most challenging and fulfilling jobs we’ve ever had. We will forever be grateful to the people of this state for giving us this great honor.’ 

A highly popular governor and a rare statewide Republican in the northeast, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday he won’t seek reelection in 2022

In October, Trump, declaring Baker a RINO or Republican in name only, endorsed Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who chaired his 2016 campaign in Massachusetts

In October, Trump, declaring Baker a RINO or Republican in name only, endorsed Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who chaired his 2016 campaign in Massachusetts

Baker and Polito said that they’d come to the decision so they could focus their last year in office on recovery from the pandemic. 

‘We have all been going through an extraordinarily difficult pandemic, and the next year will be just as important, if not more important, than the past year. 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. That work cannot and should not be about politics and the next election,’ they wrote.

‘If we were to run, it would be a distraction that would potentially get in the way of many of the things we should be working on for everyone in Massachusetts. We want to focus on recovery, not on the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into,’ the duo added. 

Baker’s criticism of Trump could be behind his waning popularity within his own party. He supported Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 and called for him to be removed from office after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

But unlike Hogan who has toyed with the idea of running for president, he’s been more reserved in his criticisms, avoiding the national media spotlight. 

Baker’s bowing out will set up a contentious Democratic primary, potentially pitting establishment Democrat Healey, who has not yet announced a run but is expected to, against progressives like Sonia Chang-Díaz, a state senator, and Ben Downing, a former state senator.

In October, Trump, declaring Baker a RINO or Republican in name only, endorsed Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who chaired his 2016 campaign in Massachusetts. Trump, however, has little weight in the state. President Biden won the state by 33 points in 2020.  

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