There’s two sides to every coin, goes the old saw, but it’s hard to make heads or tails out of the results of the GOP convention in Worcester and what it means for Gov. Charlie Baker.
Republicans gave Baker a healthy 70 percent of the vote for the nomination nod but at the same time, the vocal hard-right band of delegates not only delivered a chance for Scott Lively to be on the ballot, they gave him nearly enough for two Scott Livelys to make it, as one observer noted.
Lively, for those who don’t know, is an anti-gay, anti-abortion rights pastor from Springfield who’s making his second run for the corner office. He’s best known for calling for the death penalty for gays in Uganda, which makes him about as electable in Massachusetts as, say Donald Trump.
But Lively is an unabashed fan of the president and that made him the recipient of all the love from the conservative base at the weekend convention to send a message to Baker that his version of Republicanism doesn’t pass the litmus test.
Baker has said he’s too tied up with governing to focus on campaigning right now and likely won’t put the effort in until August. That has the benefit for Baker of saving money while at the same time denying Lively’s effort any oxygen. And with the primary set for the day after Labor Day, there won’t be much time for head-to-head battles. The prediction is Baker will agree to a single debate, if at all, but only if it’s broadcast on a Saturday morning.
But the Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says a primary challenge from Lively could be a “blessing in disguise” for Baker, a foil to react strongly against and help him make more inroads among the moderate voters he wants to woo.
“Baker has to walk a fine line in the coming months, denouncing Lively’s controversial views but not wanting to alienate too many voters in Baker’s own Republican base,” writes Battenfeld. “But if he pulls it off, Baker could actually look like a voice of reason and a principled moderate — frustrating Democrats’ attempts to link him to national Republicans and President Trump.”
Therein lies the danger, though. As long as Lively has the “R” next to his name, he’ll represent the party to a broad swath of voters in the middle and Baker will lose some of his “most popular governor” aura. And should state Rep. Geoff Diehl, one of Trump’s biggest fans in the Legislature, succeed in getting the party’s nomination to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that will keep the specter of the conservative faction alive through the general election campaign and raise questions about whether Baker is or isn’t a Republican.
Heads? Or tails?
Boston officials say they plan to build sections of a $92 million bridge to Long Island on land and then float them into position to reduce traffic going through the Squantum section of Quincy. But Quincy officials still aren’t swayed by Mayor Marty Walsh’s latest plan to build an addiction recovery center on the island. (CommonWealth)
Brockton officials are almost done with a $3.3 million project replacing all the city’s old streetlights with energy-efficient LED lights. (The Enterprise)
Framingham officials are considering expanding the city’s nuisance bylaw as a way to clean up blighted areas. (MetroWest Daily News)
The longtime personal physician to President Trump says his office was raided and all his files on his former patient removed by aides to the president after he told the New York Times last year that Trump used a drug to promote hair growth. Dr. Harold Bornstein also said he has been cut out of Trump’s orbit and demanded an apology and a donation to Tufts University from the Times to ease his pain.
South Boston state Rep. Nick Collins won yesterday’s special election for state Senate in the First Suffolk District, an election that saw barely 4 percent of the district’s voters cast ballots. (Boston Globe)
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has moved money from his campaign account to his barren defense fund as he continues to be the focus of a federal probe. (Herald News) Correia was the subject of a profile piece in the most recent issue of CommonWealth.
Sen. Ed Markey is the latest pol to try to stave off the relocation of 160 jobs at Philips Lighting from Fall River to Mexico, but he says his plea to the company president fell flat. (Boston Globe) A Herald editorial says President Trump shouldn’t let US Rep. Joe Kennedy III have all the limelight in advocating on behalf of plant workers and should speak out against the closure as well, though the editorial suggests Trump is mostly inclined to help workers in states he won in the 2016 election: “Admittedly, Massachusetts may not be on his list of favorite states.”
Amazon will hire about 2,000 new employees to work in the Seaport district on its Alexa voice-activated technology. (Boston Globe)
A tenant in the Mary Ellen McCormack public housing development in South Boston has been renting out a bedroom on Airbnb — and finding lots of takers. The Boston Housing Authority isn’t happy about it. (Boston Globe)
Ipswich officials want to consolidate all 775 elementary students at one school rather than maintaining two separate schools. The town appears to be split on what to do. (Salem News)
A Lowell Sun editorial warned the $345 million cost estimate for a new high school is going to rise as the start date for construction nears, and dared city officials to use the estimate as a cap.
Mount Ida College, which is set to close next month, has been running a $10 million deficit and recorded very low graduation rates. (Boston Globe)
A Globe editorial says the Legislature and governor should step forward and provide the $80 million in additional funding needed for the University of Massachusetts Boston to finish the reconstruction work necessary because of a crumbing central campus garage — the legacy of decades-ago corruption among state officials.
An analysis by a nonprofit education advocacy group says many states are diverting money from higher education and putting it into expanded Medicaid. (U.S. News & World Report)
New state data indicate ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft provided 64.8 million trips in Massachusetts in 2017, with more than two-thirds of the trips originating in Boston and Cambridge. (CommonWealth)
A commuter rail train struck and killed a man walking on the tracks in Middleboro Tuesday night, forcing the 46 passengers to evacuate and finish the trip by bus. (The Enterprise)
Wilfried Breuer, a top executive at a European transmission company, urges state officials in Massachusetts to keep offshore wind farms and the power lines that run out to them separately run and operated. (CommonWealth)
Southcoast Health, which has hospitals in New Bedford, Fall River, and Wareham, said it will buy electricity from one of the companies bidding to build a wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard to power its hospitals. (Cape Cod Times)
The lawyer for state troopers suing their bosses for ordering them to revise the arrest report of a judge’s daughter says he intends to name Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early as a co-conspirator. (Telegram & Gazette)
The State Police say they will investigate the case of a driver who allegedly caused a collision that killed a motorcyclist after having caused another collision earlier that day and been let go by troopers despite 911 calls that had reported she was driving erratically. (Boston Globe)
A United States veterinarian was charged with implanting liquid heroin into the bellies of puppies brought into the country for a Colombian drug cartel. (Associated Press)
Ken Doctor reports that Digital First Media’s cut-cut-cut strategy yielded a $160 million profit in fiscal 2017 on operating margins of 17 percent. In Massachusetts, operating margins were even higher — 26 percent. As profits remain strong, editorial protests at the chain’s newspapers are growing. Digital First recently acquired the Boston Herald. (Nieman Journalism Lab)
New York Times metro editor Wendell Jamieson apparently resigned because he was accused of inappropriate behavior by three female employees. (New York Times)
The New York Times is terminating Liz Spayd and eliminating the position of public editor. (Politico)