SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 14, 2013

Benton: Better week for Tebow than Baker

Charlie, we hardly knew ye. Or perhaps voters just didn’t like what they saw in former Swampscott Selectman Charlie Baker who, despite running a credible campaign against Deval Patrick in 2010, is not anyone’s favorite for governor these days.

Baker has been deemed the big loser in a UMass-Amherst poll released this week testing the relative strength of potential candidates for the corner office on both the Democratic and Republican sides. He received only a quarter of the votes cast in hypothetical contests against prominent pols from the other party.

In contrast to Baker and despite his loss to Elizabeth Warren last November, fellow Republican Scott Brown continues to be viewed favorably by many voters. The poll showed him with a substantial lead in projected head-to-head contests with state Treasurer Steve Grossman and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano of Somerville. And it indicated that at this point, a contest pitting Brown against a member of the state’s most prominent political family, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, would be a virtual dead heat.

Grossman has already declared his interest in succeeding Patrick, who has said this will be his last term as governor. (Among those being mentioned as potential candidates for the treasurer’s seat in 2014 is Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll.)

Neither Kennedy nor Capuano, on the other hand, have made their intentions known.

Also included in the poll was Baker’s 2010 running mate, Richard Tisei of Wakefield. He didn’t fare as well as Brown but did better than Baker.

At this point, the contest for both parties’ nomination appears wide open with Patrick’s lieutenant, Tim Murray, having become a non-factor due to the bad publicity created by an early-morning car crash and his association with disgraced former Chelsea Housing Authority Director Mike McLaughlin. Last month, Murray resigned his post to take an executive position with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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