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March 24, 2014

Baker avoids primary with GOP nomination

(Continued)

“I’ve been successful because I am an optimist. I believe in this great state and I believe it’s ready to soar but we aren’t going anywhere if the powers on Beacon Hill protect the status quo,” Baker said.

Baker promised to fix the dysfunctional Obamacare health insurance exchange that has become an embarrassment for the Patrick administration, improve the business climate and tackle the educational achievement gap facing low-income and minority students. He also hit Patrick and Democrats for troubles at the Department of Children and Families, property taxes “run amok,” and a gas tax indexed to inflation that opponents are trying to repeal in November.

“This is the problem with one-party rule. There’s no accountability,” Baker said. “(There’s) no price to be paid for getting stale. No pushback. No urgency. No debate. Just the giant muddle of the status quo.”

“This isn’t good enough for Massachusetts — not your Massachusetts, not mine,” he added. “We can and must do better.”

Baker gave his acceptance speech to a considerably emptied arena. Many delegates left after casting their votes. The convention adjourned hours past its scheduled end time, and many who did remain were buzzing instead over whether Fisher had qualified for the ballot.

Fisher offered a far different message than Baker, eschewing the idea that the Republican Party should be a “Big Tent” party more accepting of differing viewpoints. He said the party establishment has become too “liberal.”

“Big Tents are for circuses and the Democrats have enough clowns parading as politicians to fill the biggest tent,” Fisher said, promising to crack down on illegal immigration and fight for smaller government and against tax increases.

Though the party endorsement heading into the convention was never in doubt, Baker faced the challenge of trying to appeal to and appease the more conservative party activists who were gravitating toward Fisher. With his former running mate Richard Tisei, who is running for Congress, boycotting the convention over the GOP platform on gay marriage, Baker steered clear of social issues.

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