Baker Elected Governor
by Thin Margin
By Meggie Quackenbush
BU News Service
Charlie Baker, venture capitalist and former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, has been elected Massachusetts’ new governor, while Attorney General Martha Coakley declined to concede until final returns are in from all districts later this morning.
“It’s been quite a ride,” Baker said after taking the stage after 1 a.m. this morning to the cheers of supporters who waited hours at his Boston Seaport Hotel headquarters as votes trickled in from across Massachusetts.
“In elections, every vote counts and I’m perfectly fine with giving [Coakley] until the morning,” said Baker. “That’s the way it works folks, and that’s the way it should work,” he said. Baker, who entered election day with a favorable lead in polls, collected 48.4 percent of the votes over Coakley’s 46.7 percent votes, according to WBUR. He succeeds outgoing Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, who took office in 2006 and is not seeking re-election. Baker lost to Governor Patrick four years ago during the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Baker campaigned on a platform of fiscal discipline that includes welfare reform, a pledge not to raise taxes, and an economic plan intended to bring new businesses to Massachusetts and support existing ones.
This fiscal platform was a key factor in influencing Christian Nakkashian’s decision to support Baker. Nakkashian, 19, a college student living in Beverly, said taxes and government spending were key to him in choosing a candidate, as well as Baker’s socially-moderate stance on issues like abortion and open access to birth control. “Social issues for me are a big factor. Charlie agrees with me on a lot of social issues,” Nakkashian said.
For Delia Tapley of Boston, pro-choice and education were the major issues that influenced her decision to support Baker. “I worked hard to be a mom…making a change, supporting education are big for me.”
Raised in Needham, Baker graduated from Harvard and received an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern. He spent the past three years as Entrepreneur in Residence at the Cambridge venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners. Before taking the helm at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare in 1999, Baker served as Secretary of Administration and Finance under Massachusetts Governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci. He lives in Swampscott with his wife, Lauren, and three children.
Going into election day, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog predicted Baker had an 86 percent chance of winning, while polls released by The Boston Globe the week of the election gave Baker an edge over Coakley.
During last week’s final gubernatorial debate at WCVB, however, Baker drew criticism for a tearful story about a “burly” fisherman he said he met along the campaign trail this year, a story similar to one that Baker first recounted during his 2010 bid for governor.
The Baker campaign later admitted that the meeting between Baker and the fisherman actually took place in 2009, though media outlets have yet to locate the fisherman in question.
Yet Baker’s flap in the week before the election did little to rattle voters, according to Ned Pride of Quincy. “I’m the fisherman, you’re the fisherman, we’re all the fisherman, because we all want our children to do better in this state than we did,” he said.
Baker closed the evening with a thank you to supporters, including elected and appointed Independent, Republican, and Democratic officials who came out to endorse his campaign.
“I want to thank you for your faith in me, and your faith in Karyn [Polito], and your faith in our campaign,” he said.
“Let me tell you something; no one is more anxious to get started building a great Commonwealth of Massachusetts than me. So let’s get it done,” Baker said.