CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (State House News Service) – The last time a popular Republican governor sought re-election in Massachusetts, Bob Massie was the number two on a Democratic ticket that was crushed in a 71-28 trouncing by Gov. William Weld and the late Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci.
This year, as Democrats anticipate a 2018 re-election bid by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, Massie anticipates jumping into the gubernatorial field with an announcement in Somerville in mid-April, he told the News Service on Thursday.
Right now, Democrat Jay Gonzalez, who was state budget chief during the Patrick administration, is the only declared gubernatorial candidate for 2018.
On Thursday evening, the Cambridge Democratic City Committee hosted potential candidates Dan Wolf, a former senator from Harwich, and Setti Warren, the mayor of Newton, along with Massie and Gonzalez’s wife Cyndi Roy Gonzalez.
Asked about the parallels between 2018 and 1994, Massie pointed to one major difference: Donald Trump, not Bill Clinton is in the White House.
The Trump presidency adds some unpredictable challenges for Baker, a centrist Republican who abstained from the presidential election ballot last year.
“Charlie Baker may have been the right governor for two years ago, even though he won by a tiny fraction,” Massie told the News Service. “But he’s really out of sync now.”
Baker on Thursday said he was disappointed by a Trump administration move to remove a 2016 federal directive for schools to treat transgender students in accordance with their gender identity rather than their biological sex, which Democrats said would open the door to bullying and discrimination.
“Being disappointed is one thing. Being prepared to denounce him and fight him is another,” Massie said.
Baker said the state’s own laws as well as administrative guidance for schools meant that in Massachusetts “kids are going to be protected and kids are going to be able to feel safe and secure in the communities they live in and the schools that they go to.”
Although she wasn’t there, Attorney General Maura Healey’s presence was felt in the Cambridge senior center. The Charlestown Democrat who has repeatedly disavowed interest in seeking the governor’s office got a shout out from the Newton mayor, who called her a “great attorney general.”
“The biggest question is whether Maura Healey’s going to run for governor,” said Massie who cut short his campaign for the U.S. Senate years ago after Elizabeth Warren’s entry into the race. “If she were to run she has the potential to clear the field. Other than that, I don’t think anyone has an automatic grip on an election that’s 20 months from now.”
The event Thursday had all the trappings of a candidate forum, except for the complete dearth of declared candidates. Gonzalez was at a previously scheduled house party in Dedham, Roy Gonzalez said.
Wolf, whose 2013 bid for governor was cut short because of his ownership of Cape Air and that company’s contractual relationship with the Massachusetts Port Authority, said he is trying to learn about the electorate.
“The question is: Is there a wave to ride on?” said Wolf, who said he also wanted to determine “whether I would be a good person to lead” and plans to make up his mind by December. The Ethics Commission has since altered its policy toward individuals in Wolf’s position, clearing the way for a potential run.
Warren has said he plans to decide whether he will run by around the summer.