Mass. independent gubernatorial candidate loses running mate, who is endorsing GOP nominee

By Glen Johnson, AP
Friday, October 1, 2010

Mass. independent candidate loses running mate

BOSTON — Massachusetts independent gubernatorial candidate Timothy Cahill suffered another high-level defection Friday when his running mate announced he was abandoning his campaign for lieutenant governor and instead endorsing Republican Charles Baker.

“Tim cannot win,” Paul Loscocco said during a news conference at Baker’s campaign headquarters. “Our message has not resonated with the voters.”

Loscocco added: “It is clear to me that Charlie Baker and (running mate) Richard Tisei have the best chance of beating Gov. (Deval) Patrick and taking Massachusetts in a new direction. I cannot and will not let my ego get in the way of doing what’s right for Massachusetts.”

A beaming Baker told reporters, “I think at this point, the next governor of Massachusetts is going to be Deval Patrick for four more years of the same, or Charlie Baker for a change and a different direction.”

Despite Loscocco’s defection, the former Republican lawmaker’s name will still appear alongside Cahill’s as an independent candidate on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

“The ballots are already printed,” said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State William F. Galvin. “Loscocco is locked in as Cahill’s running mate.”

Cahill scheduled an afternoon news conference to respond. Loscocco said he told Cahill of his decision Friday morning, after meeting with Baker Thursday night. Loscocco would not reveal Cahill’s reaction, but he denied leaving Cahill in a lurch. He said he had been equally responsible for collecting the signatures that qualified them for the ballot.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party blasted the move, suggesting Baker had cut a deal with Loscocco.

“Charlie Baker’s Republican backroom deal reeks of the kind of raw political scheming that voters are angry about,” Chairman John Walsh said in a statement. “This October surprise will not fool voters. Instead, this is a Halloween trick they will reject. Voters should also be asking what Mr. Loscocco is getting in return from the Baker campaign.”

Loscocco denied any deal, but also refused to rule out working in a potential Baker administration.

“I have not been offered anything, nor have I asked for anything,” he said. At another point, he said: “This is not something that we have discussed.”

The most recent poll in the race showed Baker and Patrick, the Democratic incumbent, running about even, with Patrick at 35 percent and Baker at 34 percent. Cahill lagged at 11 percent, only marginally better than Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein.

While that survey showed Cahill — a former Democrat who currently serves as state treasurer — drawing evenly from potential supporters of both Baker and Patrick, many political analysts felt he was playing a spoiler’s role: too weak to beat Patrick, but potentially strong enough to prevent Baker from winning.

Last week, both Cahill’s senior campaign strategist and campaign manager quit, citing that argument. Adviser John Weaver said he would not help elect “the most liberal candidate in the race” during an interview Thursday with The Associated Press. That viewpoint was endorsed by former campaign manager Adam Meldrum when he resigned on Friday.

Cahill vowed to carry on his campaign at that time, saying he would rely on longtime political adviser Scott Campbell. Loscocco, a former four-term legislator from Holliston, was present in Cahill’s campaign office as he made the statement.

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