Gov. Charlie Baker, a two-term Republican who at his peak was one of the most popular governors in the country, will not seek a third term, throwing wide open the 2022 race for the state’s top political office, after close to two years of managing through a global pandemic, according to the State House News Service.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who was widely considered to be the heir to the Baker political legacy, has also decided against a run for governor in 2022, dramatically reshaping the contest on the Republican side, and, perhaps, clearing a path for Attorney General Maura Healey to enter the race on the Democratic side, the news service reported.
“After several months of discussion with our families, we have decided not to seek re-election in 2022. This was an extremely difficult decision for us. We love the work, and we especially respect and admire the people of this wonderful commonwealth. Serving as governor and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts have been the most challenging and fulfilling jobs we’ve ever had. We will forever be grateful to the people of this state for giving us this great honor,” Baker and Polito said in a joint statement.
Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state lawmaker, has already entered the race for his party’s nomination, with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, and three Democrats — Harvard Professor Danielle Allen, former state Sen. Ben Downing, and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz — are also running, according to the State House News service.
Baker would have been the first governor in recent memory to run for three terms. The last governor to serve three four-year terms was Democrat Michael Dukakis, though his terms were nonconsecutive.