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Baker gains support from Democrats and independents

Date: 10/30/2014

SPRINGFIELD – If you didn’t realize Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker was getting crossover support from Democrats and independents all you had to do was glance at the gathering in the lobby of One Financial Plaza.

On. Oct. 23, Baker, who was in town for a televised debate with Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, was greeted by a group of Democrats and independents that included Springfield City Councilors Tim Rooke and Kenneth Shea, Springfield School Committee member Peter Murphy, as well as former Springfield City Councilors Tim Ryan and Barbara Garde. West Springfield Mayor Edward Sullivan, who is an independent, was also there to show his support.

Evan Plotkin of NAI Plotkin, the owners of the building, also greeted Baker. Plotkin is supporting Baker, although footage featuring him speaking to Coakley appears in a Coakley commercial. He joked about the commercial with Baker.

Shea said his goal was to support the candidate “who would do the best job.” He added, “It was easy to cross part lines.”

He said Baker understands  “the state doesn’t end at [Interstate] 495. He will be a great help to us.”

Sullivan said he was impressed with Baker’s “energy, passion and management skills, which are second to none.”

In response to the support, Baker said his goal wasn’t just to appeal to Republicans and independents but to “chase 100 percent of the vote.” Because he spent time in local government he said as governor he “really wants to have a robust relationship with cities and towns.”

Baker said he would create incentives for economic development in Western Massachusetts, which he charged in the past were “not done well.”

Baker sidestepped a question about whether or not he was concerned the debate on WWLP was only between him and Coakley. The three independent candidates were excluded.

“I’ll tale any opportunity I can to pitch my ideas to the Commonwealth,” he said.

Commonwealth Magazine recently released a report of the outside Political Action Group (PAC) spending in the gubernatorial race with Republican PACs outspending the Democratic PACs two to one. The Republican Governors Association has spent $8.3 million and about 70 percent has been spent on negative ads, according to the story by Paul McMorrow.

When asked if he approves of this activity, he said, “What I can control, I can control,” implying the PAC fundraising and spending are beyond his supervision. He added he was “humbled” by the fact that his campaign has been given more low dollar donations by people.

He noted the first negative PAC television ad came last spring and it was against him.

Baker is going to make one more appearance locally on Nov. 1.