The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza asks if former Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charlie Baker can be a replay of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts governor’s race later this year. Baker has an impressive resume in both the private sector and in government, serving in the Weld and Cellucci administrations. Governor is a rare office where Massachusetts voters favor Republicans — the GOP has won four of the last five gubernatorial elections — and incumbent Deval Patrick’s numbers are worse than Martha Coakley’s.
But there are two reasons I think a simple comparison to Scott Brown is unwarranted. Baker is going to have some problems riding the populist wave that benefited Brown. That’s partly because he is a stylistically different candidate. It is also because he has to face Christy Mihos, a more natural populist, in the Republican primary. If he wins the nomination, he’ll have to contend with Tim Cahill running as an independent fiscal conservative, potentially denying him a clean shot at Patrick.
Both Mihos and Cahill can be overcome, but I don’t think either of them can at this point be discounted. That said, Baker does have a decent shot of doing something Scott Brown did — win statewide office in Massachusetts while running as a Republican.