Former health care executive Charlie Baker destroyed convenience store magnate Christy Mihos at the Massachusetts Republican State Convention, winning 89 percent of the delegate vote and effectively clinching the nomination right there. A candidate must receive at least 15 percent of the delegate vote to qualify to appear on the primary ballot. Mihos was eliminated.
This sets up a genuine three-way race for governor in the fall. In most recent polls Mihos — who ran for governor as an independent in 2006 — was running third behind Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick and state Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is running as an independent. Baker has been running second behind Patrick but the last Rasmussen poll showed some slippage: Patrick at 35 percent, Baker at 27 percent, and Cahill at 23 percent. Cahill has started hitting Baker hard from the right, though some voters worry a split conservative vote will inadvertently help re-elect the unpopular Patrick.
The Massachusetts GOP avoided competitive primaries in most of the other statewide races as well. The only primary will be between a former Turnpike Authority board member and a Ron Paul Republican vying for the nomination for state auditor. Baker was a cabinet member in the administrations of Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci.