Here are the 3 Democrats gunning for Charlie Baker’s job

Gov. Charlie Baker looks on Friday during Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden in Boston. Adam Glanzman / Getty Images

Even in reliably blue Massachusetts, the prospect of unseating Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018 looks formidable.

More than halfway through his fist term, the Republican governor can claim bipartisan legislative accomplishments, a strong state economy, and millions in readily available reelection campaign cash. He also steered clear of the toxic 2016 presidential election.

A poll last month even found that Baker was the most popular governor in the country (and not for the first time).

Nevertheless, a lot can change in 18 months and so far three Democrats have stepped up to the task of taking down the Bay State governor.

Jay Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez poses for a portrait at the Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten law firm in Boston.


Gonzalez was the first candidate to officially announce his gubernatorial campaign back in January and has intermittently made headlines with his recent swipes at the current governor.

The 46-year-old Needham resident previously worked as Massachusetts’s administration and finance secretary, overseeing the state’s budget under Gov. Deval Patrick (Baker held the same post under Gov. Bill Weld in the 1990s). Gonzalez left Patrick’s administration in 2013 to become the CEO of CeltiCare, a Waltham healthcare company.

In a statement, Gonzalez highlighted his proposal to increase accessibility of and state assistance for early education and childcare, his support of legislation to make Massachusetts a “sanctuary state,” and his support of the Fair Share Amendment — also known as the “millionaire’s tax,” which will also be on the 2018 ballot — as a means to boost “desperately needed” funding for transportation and education.

He also criticized Baker for, as he sees it, accepting the status quo and sitting “on the sidelines when we need him most.”

“I’m frustrated by how little he’s accomplished, but I’m even more frustrated by how little he’s even tried,” Gonzalez said, later also taking aim at Baker for his lack of transparency in certain cases since becoming governor.


“We need a Governor who is going to see the way the world should be and take us to that place,” he said.

Gonzalez also ran this year’s Boston Marathon, finishing in just over 3 hours and 46 minutes.

Bob Massie

Bob Massie kicks off his campaign with a speech last week at the Somerville Armory.

A longtime environmentalist, activist, and businessman, Massie formally kicked off his campaign last week in Somerville, his hometown. The 60-year-old Democrat was the party’s unsuccessful nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and launched a brief 2012 Senate primary campaign, dropping out after Elizabeth Warren entered the race.

Between those years, Massie led Ceres, a Boston-based national group to encourage sustainable investing; helped found the Global Reporting Initiative, which produces international standards for corporate social responsibility; and was involved with several local environmental and social initiatives.

In an interview Friday on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio, Massie criticized Baker for not “speaking out” enough against the actions of President Donald Trump.

“I think you need to be willing to stand up and say things when clearly there are deep violations of principle and possibly violations of law,” Massie said, noting that Baker did not attend a myriad of local anti-Trump protests and marches — even if the Republican governor has broken with the GOP administration on issues from immigration to health care to climate change.


Massie went on the criticize the “structural problems” of the state’s budget, education system, and climate change.

“[Baker] is taking successful baby steps,” he told WGBH. “But what I believe that I present in my candidacy is someone who has had the ability to identify core problems, the ability to lay out a vision of where we should go, and then the ability to create transformative change in national and international organizations that I’ve created and led.”

On his campaign website, Massie calls for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, paid sick leave (the state already requires employers of 11 or more to provide earned paid sick time), and the aforementioned millionaire’s tax. Massie also says the state should transition toward a “clean energy economy”  to combat energy costs and climate change.

Massie was born with hemophilia and learned in 1984 that he had contracted HIV due to a contaminated blood injection in 1978. In 2002, he contracted Hepatitis C, which severely damaged his liver and forced Massie out of work for seven years. A liver transplant in 2009 cured Massie’s Hepatitis and hemophilia, facilitating his return to good health — and to politics.

Setti Warren

Newton Mayor Setti Warren makes his official gubernatorial campaign announcement Saturday in Newton.

After months of not-so-subtle hints, the 46-year-old Newton mayor announced his campaign at a neighborhood block party Saturday.

“Economic inequality is the issue of our time – and this is our generational call to service,” Warren said, officially kicking off his gubernatorial candidacy, in a speech outside his family’s home.


Like Massie, Warren ran a short-lived Senate primary campaign in 2011 — until future-Sen. Warren joined the field. In November, the former staffer for Sen. John Kerry and Iraq War veteran announced he would not seek a third term as mayor of Newton. As he geared up for a gubernatorial run, Warren was featured earlier this month in a New York Times article on young black Democratic political candidates.

Warren’s platform includes increasing assistance for and empowerment of the state’s veterans and seniors, investing in efficient and renewable energy, and “moving the Commonwealth toward a single payer health care system.” He also calls for a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and free public college for in-state students.

Warren also called for continued investment in transportation infrastructure.

“We must commit to projects like extending the Blue Line to Lynn, building a bullet train from Springfield to Boston, and repairing our underfunded roads and bridges,” says his website. “We cannot wait 20 years to get this done.”

In his speech Saturday, Warren emphasized the issue of inequality And while Warren admitted that the state had been “on a roll,” he said the top-line statistics, such as the low unemployment rate, did not reflect an economy that was “leaving people and communities behind.”

“As I’ve been listening to the people of the Commonwealth, what I’ve heard is that they don’t think Beacon Hill hears them,” he said.