CBS News Logo Charlie Baker bests Martha Coakley in Massachusetts governor’s race

Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts, CBS News projects, handing Democrat Martha Coakley her second major defeat in a statewide race. Coakley, the attorney general, was once the heavy favorite to win the race, maintaining a double-digit lead in many polls this year until Baker began making inroads against her in August. In the last several weeks he overtook her in the polls, reminiscent of former Sen. Scott Brown's victory over Coakley in the 2010 Massachusetts special senatorial election. Though Massachusetts is an overwhelmingly Democratic state, voters have a history of picking Republican governors. Before outgoing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick was elected in 2006, Republicans held the statehouse for more than a decade and a half. Baker lost to Patrick in the 2010 governor's race. Baker made an effort to attract Democratic voters and endorsements but also had the heavy backing of national Republican organizations that were looking for a win in a blue state. He also built an advantage on the question of who would better manage the government and improve the state's economy, while Coakley saw her edge on issues like the economy and health care dwindle. Continue Reading

CBS News Logo Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton dive into Pennsylvania governors race

PHILADELPHIA -- Pennsylvania's gubernatorial candidates are drawing some big names to the state on Thursday, with potential presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie heading to the Philadelphia area to join the would-be governors on the trail as they compete for votes in the state's populous southeast corner. Christie planned a Thursday afternoon appearance at a rally in Wayne, Pennsylvania, for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who's considered perhaps the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country this year. Christie chairs the Republican Governors Association, a fundraising arm that helps the GOP's gubernatorial candidates around the country. The association is Corbett's biggest campaign donor at $5.8 million so far in this campaign cycle. Clinton will headline an evening "Women for Wolf" rally at the Constitution Center in downtown Philadelphia to help Corbett's Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, a businessman and former Peace Corps volunteer. A high voter turnout in Philadelphia would favor Wolf. Almost 80 percent of the city's 1 million-plus registered voters are Democrats, although just 40 percent cast a ballot for governor in 2010, when Corbett won his first term by 9 percentage points. Voter turnout in the rest of the state was 48 percent that year. Meanwhile, the candidate who wins Pennsylvania's four heavily populated suburban counties is nearly assured of a victory. Pennsylvania has nearly 8.3 million registered voters, and one in three lives in Philadelphia or its suburban counties. Independent polls show Wolf with a comfortable lead over Corbett, as the campaign spending threatens to break Pennsylvania's record of $69 million. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday, for example, found Wolf up 55 to 38 percent. Corbett is Pennsylvania's former two-term attorney general from the Pittsburgh area. Wolf, a first-time candidate, ran his family's York-based building products distribution business for much of the last three Continue Reading

Bob Massie Is Putting Climate and Democracy at the Center of the Massachusetts Governor’s Race

Bob Massie, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, may just be the most serious and experienced climate advocate to run for high office in this country since Al Gore ran for president in 2000. And yet the labels “climate advocate” or “environmentalist” don’t begin to capture a résumé and a life story with few, if any, comparisons. Massie launched his run on May 16 at the Armory in working-class Somerville, where he’s lived since arriving 32 years ago as a young Episcopal priest, racial-justice activist, and doctoral student at Harvard Business School. (You read that correctly.) When he entered Yale Divinity School in 1978 after graduating from Princeton, where he was a student leader in the anti-apartheid movement on American campuses, Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore told him that the church needed more people, like Massie, with a “prophetic” view of economic and social justice. No doubt Harvard Business School needed a few more as well. Massie left active parish ministry behind (though he is still an ordained priest) when he received his doctorate and began teaching, but as he told me when we sat down for a long conversation at his home in Somerville’s Winter Hill last week, “I feel that all people of faith—just as I feel that all people—should be engaged in translating their most deeply held values into their private and public actions.” Of course, he added, we all constantly fail at this, but that’s no excuse for not trying. But even this doesn’t fully capture the person Massie is. His story, which he tells in his excellent 2012 memoir, A Song in the Night, is so improbable that no serious novelist would dare write it. Born in 1956 with classical hemophilia, a potentially deadly genetic disease that robbed him of his ability to walk at age 5 and confined him to leg braces and a wheelchair into his teens, Massie contracted HIV (though he was spared AIDS) Continue Reading

Mitt Romney admits universal healthcare plan he implemented as Massachusetts governor influenced Obamacare

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney is finally taking credit — or admitting blame — for Obamacare. After years of denying that Obamacare was closely modeled on the universal healthcare insurance plan Romney helped pass as Massachusetts governor, the former presidential candidate took credit for its influence in a Boston Globe obituary for a longtime friend, Staples owner Tom Stemberg. "Without Tom pushing it, I don't think we would have had Romneycare," said Romney. "Without Romneycare, I don't think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn't have health insurance." KING: PRESIDENT OBAMA EXPLAINS WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER Romney has spent years arguing Obamacare wasn't that similar to his plan, which he long claimed was never designed to be implemented at the national level. The similarity of the plans was an albatross around Romney's neck during the 2012 presidential race, as it hurt him with the conservative base and made it hard for him to criticize Obama on healthcare. Romney sought later on Friday to clarify his comments, arguing that Obamacare "has failed" and saying he'd still repeal it. "Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that's what Tom Stemberg fought for," he wrote. "I oppose Obamacare and believe it has failed. It drove up premiums, took insurance away from people who were promised otherwise, and usurped state programs. As I said in the campaign, I'd repeal it and replace it with state-crafted plans." Continue Reading

2014 MIDTERM ELECTIONS: The 8 governor races that matter

They are not getting the same attention as the battle for the Senate, but a handful of gubernatorial elections this November could go a long way toward shaping America’s political landscape heading into the 2016 race for President. Several Republican governors eyeing a run for the White House must win reelection first. How each state goes in 2014 could also be an early indicator of the way it will vote in two years, during what promises to be a competitive presidential race. Here are the eight gubernatorial races that matter in 2014: ARIZONA Republican state Treasurer Doug Ducey is running neck-and-neck with businessman Fred DuVal, a Democrat, to succeed conservative Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who is retiring after two terms. (open seat) Democrat: Fred DuVal Republican: Doug Ducey Why is it so close? Despite having a conservative electorate, Arizona has a history of electing Democratic governors, including former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ex-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. A rough six-candidate Republican primary left Ducey bruised heading into the general election, providing Democrats with a legitimate shot at retaking the post. Early line: A recent Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Ducey with a lead among likely voters of 0.5 percentage points. COLORADO Incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is facing a competitive challenge from former Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez. Democrat: Gov. John Hickenlooper (incumbent) Republican: Rep. Bob Beauprez (challenger) Why is it so close? Hickenlooper, whose state voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana last year, had actually opposed the effort. But as governor, he was nevertheless charged with implementing the law, resulting in steady criticism from Republicans and social moderates opposed to legal pot about the potential long-term effects of Continue Reading covers Massachusetts governor’s debate with emoji

A Boston news organization turned on the ;-o to make sense of a key political debate through emoticons. There will be a new Massachusetts governor come Nov. 4 and the first debate between five candidates Monday night was lively in every way, but especially on Twitter, where translated the candidates’ remarks with emoji. Front running Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley faced off with Independents Evan Falchuk, Jeff McCormick and Scott Lively in a televised debate in Springfield, Mass. And, which is tied to the Boston Globe, did its best to boil down complex candidate stances into hieroglyphics any teen would get – and even an Egyptian pharaoh might understand. One Tweet explained Lively’s view on global warming by using a sun with an arrow pointed toward a globe and fire. That’s clear and concise, something Twitter’s 140-character micro blog excels at. But also caught flack for the social media experiment. “No joke... the joke is @BostonDotCom using emoji's for this debate,” tweeted one journalist. “The day #journalism died,” tweeted another. Two-term Dem Gov. Deval Patrick is not seeking re-election, turning the race into a wide-open sprint to Election Day. proved less is more in turning the first of five governor debates into a social media event. “Thanks for joining us for the debate!” signed off. “We will NOT emoji-tweet Antiques Roadshow.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney take gloves off as N.H. race heats up

NASHUA, N.H. - Rudy Giuliani attacked Republican rival Mitt Romney as weak on crime Saturday as both tried to rally support for the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary on Jan. 8. Giuliani was among those who questioned the former Massachusetts governor about his appointment of a judge who released a convicted killer. The ex-con was arrested Monday in a double-murder case. Romney has called on the jurist he appointed last year, Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman, to resign, saying she showed an "inexplicable lack of good judgment" in freeing Daniel Tavares Jr., who is now accused of slaying a newlywed couple in Washington State. Tavares served 16 years in prison for killing his mother. Prosecutors wanted to keep him locked up longer for alleged assaults on prison guards, but Tuttman freed him without bail. The judge imbroglio had Giuliani's campaign trying to hit Romney on one of the former New York mayor's signature issues, public safety, while getting him back for comments he made about the corruption indictment of former Giuliani police commissioner Bernard Kerik. Romney "had an increase in murder and violent crime while he was governor," Giuliani said. "So it's not so much the isolated situation which he and the judge will have to explain - he's kind of thrown her under the bus. So it's hard to know how this is all going to come out. But the reality is, he did not have a record of reducing violent crime." Hitting the stump for Giuliani, Romney's predecessor, Paul Cellucci, also took a swing at his fellow Bay Stater. Romney "was quite critical of Mayor Giuliani around the Bernie Kerik situation, so I guess he's got a little explaining to do," Cellucci said. Romney's campaign later said that under his governorship, "violent crime in Massachusetts decreased, and he had a strong record of appointing law-and-order judges." As Giuliani and Romney campaigned around the Granite State, each also tried to tear down the Continue Reading

Texas governor Rick Perry endorses Rudy Giuliani

WASHINGTON - The GOP endorsement wars heated up Wednesday as Rudy Giuliani picked up Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a card-carrying conservative and abortion foe. Mitt Romney countered with endorsements from Christian fundamentalist Bob Jones 3rd and Florida Rep. Connie Mack, son of an influential former U.S. senator. "As a Christian I am completely opposed to the doctrines of Mormonism," Jones told a local South Carolina newspaper. "But I'm not voting for a preacher. ... It boils down to who can best represent conservative American beliefs, not religious beliefs." Perry concluded that the conservative lion in this race is Giuliani, not Romney, whom he zinged by reminding that the ex-Massachusetts governor said at a recent GOP debate a President should consult his lawyers before defending America against enemy threats. "Our nation's leader must be willing to act decisively in response to threats without dialing up their lawyers first," Perry said at a Washington news conference as Giuliani beamed. "He offers America a much better vision than another Clinton presidency," Perry added. "Rudy Giuliani is the most prepared individual of either party to be the next President." The man who succeeded George W. Bush as Lone Star State governor said he was won over after looking Giuliani "right in the eye" and hearing he'll appoint strict constructionists in the mold of Antonin Scalia, John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Perry is a prominent fiscal and social conservative, so his endorsement will carry added impact with right-leaning Republicans worried by Giuliani's views on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Perry tried to make Big Apple lemons into political lemonade by boasting that Giuliani managed to cut taxes and tame a bloated bureaucracy as mayor of "one of the most liberal cities in America." "I'm not talkin' about any mayor," Perry gushed. "I'm talkin' about America's Mayor." Join the Continue Reading

Religion shaping race & defining Prez candidates

A crowd cheered fervently in Iowa this month as Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback quoted Mother Teresa telling him, "All for Jesus. All for Jesus. All for Jesus. All for Jesus." Barack Obama's recently launched Spanish-language radio ad in Nevada tells the targeted Hispanic audience, "Barack Obama is a Christian man." Hillary Clinton doesn't hesitate to let voters know the importance of prayer in her life, while Rudy Giuliani awkwardly dodges questions about his standing as a Catholic. And then there's Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everywhere he goes, Romney faces questions about his Mormon faith. Religion has played a role in presidential elections throughout history. But not since 1960, when John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic elected to the White House, has it been as omnipresent on the campaign trail. Historians and political experts say it's unlikely religion - or social issues embraced by Christian conservatives - will dominate the 2008 path to the Oval Office because the war in Iraq and homeland security seem uppermost in voters' minds. "Nothing in the conversation, thus far, makes it sound like gay marriage and abortion are going to outshine the war," said Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center. But there's no escaping religion on the campaign trail. While other issues loom large, voters want to know where candidates stand when it comes to faith. Bill Leonard, dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School and professor of church history, said the campaign now underway showcases the nation's "continuing religious saga." A century ago, "nobody would have believed" a Catholic could be elected president, Leonard said. The 2008 race is "just another illustration of the power of pluralism in American religious experience, that indeed a Catholic was elected and that indeed a Mormon is running as such a Continue Reading


ALBANY - Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Weld, embarrassed by his weak showing at last week's GOP convention, could bow out of the race as early as today, sources said. "His heart is telling him to stay in and fight, but his head is taking the more rational kind of approach," said a Weld adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "So he is going to speak to his wife and take the evening to think about it." The former Massachusetts governor is to announce his decision soon, possibly today, the sources said. State GOP boss Steve Minarik yesterday called on Weld to throw his support to John Faso, the big winner at last week's convention on Long Island. "In the name of party unity, it's important that he step aside," Minarik told the Daily News. "The party is bigger than one person." Gov. Pataki, speaking to reporters upstate in Troy, did not publicly offer advice to Weld. "Let's just see what happens over the next few days," Pataki said several times. Up until the GOP convention, both Pataki and Minarik had been aiding the Weld effort and had tried - unsuccessfully - to steer several county leaders away from Faso. Under state election rules, Weld faces a Thursday deadline to reject his party's invitation to be in the September primary. If he doesn't act by then, there would be no way to remove his name from the ballot unless he dies, leaves New York or gets tapped for a judgeship. A member of Weld's inner circle said he is tempted to stay in the race because he could position himself as an outsider. But Minarik said if Weld chooses to push ahead with his campaign, "It would be uphill." Whoever wins will likely have to face Democrat Eliot Spitzer, who is far ahead of both men in the polls. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading