Campaign ads are now appearing in more frequency on TV and races are heating up, with just under two months until the mid-term elections. WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with State House reporter Mike Deehan about a possible indpendent candidate for govenor and the Senate race for the Cape and Islands district seat.
Eident: Joining us as he does most weeks live from Boston is WCAI State House reporter Mike Deehan. Morning, Mike.
Deehan: Good morning.
Eident: Well Mike, election season is heating up. We're seeing ad campaigns, we're hearing news stories, and so much more, so let's take a look. Let's talk first about the gubernatorial campaign, if you don't mind. The ads are out as I just said, and I'm sure we're going to see more of them in the next month or two as we head into the November election. Governor Charlie Baker, the incumbent, is still the front runner in that race, is that right?
Deehan: Yeah. This was kind of what we've expect to happen within the gubernatorial race, since Baker dispatched with GOP rival in the primary Scott Lively last week. His focus now on the general election is against the Democratic nominee Jay Gonzalez. And as you said, you know those TV ads are starting to go up, and they're starting to show Baker's move towards the middle. He never really left the middle too much during that Republican primary season, but now he's broadening his message to try to get those Democrats who are willing to vote for Republicans and independents who he really needs to build a coalition where a Republican can win in this state.
Eident: And we have been seeing some criticism from folks calling him a RHINO which is a Republican in name only.
Deehan: Yes, of course. So, those more conservative elements that lost pretty bitterly when Scott Lively only got 35 percent of the vote--which is larger than what was expected,don't get me wrong-- but you know the more conservative side of the Republican Party is now you know lashing out that Baker is 'Republican in name only,' so he's too much of a Democrat, he's too liberal for them.
However, between now and November all you're going to hear from the Democratic Party is how Charlie Baker is tied to President Donald Trump and his agenda is far more conservative than anyone thinks is and that he is supporting a national conservative propaganda that doesn't work for Massachusetts. So really, take your pick. Is he too liberal or too conservative? We can have it both ways.
Eident: I thought it was interesting too to read that Scott Lively, who you mentioned, who ran against Baker in the primary and lost, is thinking of running against him. Do you know anything about that?
Deehan: Lively actually ran for governor as an independent in 2014 did not do very well in that race. That's one of the reasons why he wanted to get into the Republican primary. This time, he's kind of following, like I said, he got 35 percent of the vote. That was kind of a surprising amount to think that in Charlie Baker's Massachusetts 35 percent of Republican voters-- Republican and independent voters who took Republican ballots--went to the polls and voted for someone like Scott Lively. Mostly because he very much allied himself with the Trump agenda and wanted to see that here in Massachusetts.
But yeah, it's plausible that he could mount an independent campaign that could hurt Baker a little bit by scaring away some of those independent voters. But, without too much money to compete with Baker and Gonzalez on a larger scale, I don't think we're going to see someone like Lively get into debates or really be at the same caliber of candidates as the two major parties.
Eident: I want to drill down locally here and look at another race that you've been keeping an eye on and we all will be keeping an eye on. And that is for state Senate with incumbent Democrat Julian Cyr going up against John Flores. What's interesting about that race from your vantage point as someone who covers the State House?
Deehan: It's one of those districts where you have a very progressive lawmaker in Julian Cyr, who has a pretty good name for himself in the Senate in the two terms that he's been you know in this role as senator. But, it is a winnable seat for Republicans. They think a lot of Republican strategists eye Cape Cod's district as something that they could potentially win. A lot of Southeastern Massachusetts districts went a lot more conservative than people think but have fairly progressive lawmakers in them. The Cape is interesting because it's kind of stratified between very liberal and very conservative.
And, I think strategists right now in both campaigns Flores and Cyr are probably looking at what turnout is going to be-- is it going to be a lot of progressives coming out for Elizabeth Warren, or is it going to be maybe a red tide, people who want to put the Trump stamp on the thing.
Eident: That's State House reporter Mike Deehan checking in with us. Thanks a lot, Mike. We'll talk with you next week.
Deehan: Always great to talk to you.
This conversation was lightly edited for grammar and clarity.