'an extremely difficult decision'
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a popular incumbent and critic of former President Donald Trump, announced Wednesday he will not be seeking re-election in 2022, a decision that "surprised some in the state's political class" and will "ripple down" the Massachusetts' ballot next year, Politico and The Boston Globe report. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito also declined to run for re-election or in Baker's place.
"After several months of discussion with our families, we have decided not to seek re-election in 2022," Baker and Polito wrote in a statement, per Politico. "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 has 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."
Both Republicans also alluded to the importance of spending time with family and friends, and conceded that a re-election campaign would have been a "distraction" from fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Globe.
"We want to focus on recovery, not on the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into," Baker and Polito wrote.
Baker, who would have been the favorite had he decided to run, was a "relic of the pre-Trump Republican Party," reports The New York Times. In fact, he was more popular in polling among Democrats and independent voters than Republicans.
His departure now establishes a "high-profile contest between different branches of the Democratic Party," in which Maura Healey — the state's popular attorney general who has yet to announce her candidacy — is most likely pitted against progressives Sonia Chang-Díaz, a state senator, and Ben Downing, an ex-state senator, per the Times. Trump-endorsed former state representative Geoff Diehl will challenge on the Republican side.