Baker takes a pass on GOP nominating convention

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BOSTON – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won’t be joining his party in Cleveland this summer.

The Republican National Convention convenes in Ohio’s second-biggest city in July to nominate a presidential candidate in what promises to be a messy floor fight pitting New York billionaire Donald Trump against party leaders. While Trump has dominated most primary season contests, trailed by Ted Cruz, the Cuban-American Texas Senator, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in a distant third, no one has won enough delegates to clinch the nomination.

“Gov. Baker is not planning to attend the GOP convention in Cleveland as the Legislature will be in session and the administration will be closely monitoring several priorities as they move through the legislative process,” Elizabeth Guyton, a spokeswoman, said in a statement sent Thursday.

What Guyton didn’t mention was Baker’s apparent dislike for the top two contenders for the convention’s nod, Trump and Cruz.

“The two leads coming out of Iowa are not folks who have demonstrated an ability to collaborate, work across the aisle and get stuff done in a public setting,” Baker told reporters in early February after Cruz won the Iowa caucuses and Trump finished second.

February was a tough month for Baker, as his endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the Republican nomination fizzled when Christie dropped out days later. Baker’s situation became even more complicated when Christie surprised him by throwing his support to Trump.

Baker, who has since remained mum on any further endorsements, may not be alone in steering clear of Cleveland.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the New Hampshire Republican facing re-election challenges from both the right and left, has also said it’s “unlikely” she’ll attend the convention. Ayotte has declined to publicly endorse any of the GOP presidential candidates, who once numbered 17.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do in New Hampshire, I have my own re-election and I’m going to be focusing on my voters in New Hampshire,” she told cable television’s CNN this week.