Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation’s most popular governors, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) announced Wednesday that they will not seek third terms in 2022.
Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.
What they’re saying: “After several months of discussion with our families, we have decided not to seek re-election in 2022,” Baker and Polito said in a statement.
- “Serving as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts has been the most challenging and fulfilling jobs we’ve ever had. We will forever be grateful to the people of this state for giving us this great honor,” they added.
The big picture: Throughout the Trump administration and the coronavirus pandemic, Baker distanced himself from national Republican issues, such as opposing vaccine mandates and showing public loyalty to former President Trump.
- Because of this, Baker usually has a higher approval rating with state Democrats and independents than with Republicans.
- If Baker ran for re-election and won, he would have been the first Massachusetts governor to serve three consecutive four-year terms.
Go deeper: Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker joins governors facing COVID criticism