Around New England

Charlie Baker Worked for John Connally in 1980 Republican Presidential Primary

December 6, 2018

While in his early 20s Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker worked on the GOP presidential campaign of former Texas governor John Connally, Baker said Thursday.

As a Democrat, Connally served as governor of Texas during the 1960s. He was riding in President John F. Kennedy’s limousine on November 22, 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated, and was himself seriously wounded in the shooting.

In 1973 Connally, who was a conservative Democrat, joined the Republican Party. He ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1980, but fizzled without winning a primary, and ended up endorsing eventual nominee Ronald Reagan.

The second-place finisher in the GOP primaries that year was George H.W. Bush, who ended up getting picked by Reagan as his vice presidential nominee.

Baker told State House News Service he met George H.W. Bush at a cattle-call event on the campaign trail.

“He could not have been nicer and more gracious to a 20-year-old who didn’t know nothing about nothing than he was to me and to everybody else and that is I think in some respects one of his lasting legacies,” Baker said Thursday, according to State House News Service, as reported by the Salem News. “He really was one of those people who basically found time to make a lot of things personal that most people don’t, especially those in public life.”

Baker attended Bush’s state funeral in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, and said he was moved by it.

 “The first thing I would say is how surprised I was by how personal and heartfelt that whole event felt,” Baker said, according to State House News Service.

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