Charlie Baker Denies Eating Waffles — Beacon Hill Recap

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By Colin A. Young

How do you think Governor Charlie Baker takes his waffles?

The Republican governor was treated (or tricked?) Friday morning to a stack of buttery waffles from The Paramount on Charles Street, a tongue-in-cheek gift from the Democratic Party as it tries to keep attention on Baker’s flip-flopping this week over whether he would vote for U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl. The GOP called it one of the Democrats’ “sad gimmicks.”

Baker’s campaign said Friday the governor did not actually eat the waffles — perhaps the incumbent was still full from eating his own words after a Wednesday night debate with Democrat Jay Gonzalez.

After hesitating to answer a direct question from Gonzalez about whether he will vote for Diehl, the Trump-loving state representative whom Baker endorsed as part of the GOP ticket, Baker said during the debate that he hadn’t yet made up his mind.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet with respect to that one,” Baker said during the debate about voting for Diehl. “I’ll make my decision eventually. I’ll make sure people know.”

“Eventually” turned out to be about 40 minutes later, when Baker met with reporters and claimed that he had “simply misspoke” the multiple times during the debate when he said he wasn’t sure of how he’d vote in the Senate race.

“I’m going to vote for him,” Baker said, reiterating that he had pledged to support the GOP ticket and will vote for the GOP ticket.

Turns out, that GOP ticket that Baker is supporting and voting for does not include every Republican candidate running in Massachusetts. Instead, Baker supports the Republicans running for statewide office — himself and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Diehl, attorney general candidate Jay McMahon, treasurer candidate Keiko Orrall, auditor candidate Helen Brady and secretary of state candidate Anthony Amore, according to Baker’s campaign.

The governor has also endorsed Republicans Rick Green, Peter Tedeschi, and Joe Schneider for Congress, and is supporting all incumbent GOP state legislators. That leaves Republicans Tracy Lovvorn and John Hugo, running against U.S. Representatives James McGovern and Katherine Clark respectively, with no love from the guv this election cycle, along with apparently some Republican candidates trying to break into the Legislature.

Baker’s tepid re-endorsement of Diehl came as the Whitman Republican was preparing to face off against U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in their first debate of the campaign Friday night. Diehl has been calling for Warren to drop out of the race and basically cede the Senate seat to him as he hammers the senator for her increasingly obvious interest in running for president in two years.

In the days leading up to Friday night’s debate, Warren seemed more focused on that contest, which the one-term senator and darling of the left has said she will take a hard look at jumping into.

The state’s senior senator started the week off by releasing an analysis of her DNA, which she said proves her claims of Native American heritage. It was an unusual move from a senator who is up for re-election in three weeks against an opponent who has not made a campaign issue out of her heritage.

The announcement was never about Diehl, though. Warren made clear that President Donald Trump was her intended target and on Monday launched a counterassault against him. Was it a soft launch of a “Warren for President 2020” campaign? David Axelrod, the man who helped put Barack Obama in the White House, sure thought so.

“It says: 1)@SenWarren is 100% running. 2)She thinks this Pocahontas crap is a potential problem. 3)She wants to dispose of it now, lest she be Birtherized,” Axelrod, who is now a commentator on CNN, tweeted Monday.

Back on Beacon Hill, leaders in the Legislature must have gotten sick of hearing that pesky smoke alarm chirping about the need to finally close the books on the fiscal year that ended in June.

After Comptroller Tom Shack, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, and Auditor Suzanne Bump aired their frustration Friday, October 12 with the Legislature’s inaction, lawmakers on Monday, October 15 swiftly moved a $540.35 million supplemental budget to the governor’s desk.The bill includes relief aid for the Merrimack Valley, balances out deficient accounts, and spends down the state’s surplus.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Governor Baker gave a preview of coming attractions on Beacon Hill, surprising very few by telling the Health Policy Commission this week that they plan on taking yet another run at overhauling the state’s health care laws.

Even though “a tremendous amount of time, effort, energy, conversation, discussion, and reams and reams and reams of trees that were sacrificed” trying to get health care reform done this past summer, according to Baker, the House speaker said he expects the House won’t just pick up where it left off the last go-round.

“Since we were not successful, I think it is incumbent upon us to also take a fresh look at some of the things maybe we should have last time or just to improve what we already have,” he said Tuesday, October 16.

Before the attention can turn to legislation in the new session, all 200 seats in the Legislature are up for grabs in the Tuesday, November 6 election. Secretary of State William Galvin, the state’s chief elections officer, said this week that voter registrations and absentee voting activity point to a “strong and healthy turnout” next month.

Voters don’t have to wait until November 6 to cast their ballots. For the second time, Massachusetts voters will have an opportunity to vote early. Cities and towns can begin early voting on Monday and Galvin said he hopes to see early voting turnout similar to 2016, when more than one million people voted early, about a third of the total turnout.

The most exciting story of the week broke late Thursday night, when the Boston Red Sox finished a sweep of the three championship series games in Houston to win the American League pennant and advance to the World Series. The Sox, under the direction of rookie manager Alex Cora, have now eliminated from the playoffs two teams — the New York Yankees and Houston Astros — that won at least 100 games this season and have not lost on the road in the postseason.

The local nine will face the National League champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning Tuesday night at Fenway Park. The 2018 Fall Classic will be the Red Sox’s fourth of this century and 12th in franchise history. The Sox were last in the World Series in 2013, when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.


SONG OF THE WEEK: “There’s so many changes, and tears you must hide. Did you ever have to finally decide?”