Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is a political rarity—a moderate Republican in a deep blue state with stronger approval ratings from Democrats than from his own party, according to a U.S. study by the Covid States Project, a collaborative effort by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.
Baker’s decision not to seek a third term shook the state’s political establishment and threw the doors wide open on a successor. Had he stayed in the race, he would have faced a Republican backed by former president Donald Trump. That could have meant a tough campaign, given the rightward shift of state Republicans. Baker denied Trump’s influence played a role in his decision—“No, not at all,” he told reporters. Rather, he plans to focus the remainder of his time in office to the pandemic recovery.