Baker’s Campaign Dilemma

Deval Patrick Watch writes that Baker’s campaign is getting ugly.  I think the question is how is Charlie going to distance himself from Cahill who is attempting to sound conservative, without being negative.  I think we’ve seen in the past negative campaigns tend to fail.  

“The Bay State GOP’s gubernatorial great hope Charles D. Baker’s campaign, battered by low poll ratings, yesterday confirmed an abrupt change of campaign managers, but denied it’s in crisis even as opponents attacked a new negative ad as “desperate.”

Tim O’Brien, who managed the disastrous 2006 gubernatorial campaign of Kerry Healey, has replaced Lenny Alcivar, who presided over a lackluster period that saw independent Tim Cahill emerge as a serious challenger, seizing the lion’s share of opposition limelight in the race to unseat Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.

But Gorka said the split with Washington, D.C.-based Alcivar had nothing to do with recent polls showing Baker trailing a close third in a three-way race with Cahill and Patrick. He said Baker decided he wanted someone local”


Is this really ugly though?  Baker is still neck and neck with Patrick and Cahill.  Baker still hasn’t spent a dollar on television advertising, so is this something the Baker faithful should be worried about?

About RedMachine1

  • The Baker campaign made a change that it saw was best for moving forward to victory.  Surely, others here & elsewhere will Monday morning quarterback – perhaps raising some good points, perhaps engaging in paranoia – but that’s only natural when there is a shake-up.  Ditto with the RGA commercial “controversy.”

    At the end of the day, I don’t think either are going to be a big deal.  They’re short term stories.  Now, if Tim O’Brien were to run the campaign into the ground and need an abrupt dismissal then sure, the “I Told You So!” types would ravage the blogs.  I don’t expect that to happen & I’m of the mind that the candidate can hire & fire whoever he wants.

    More importantly & to the point of this post…this isn’t really anything for a Baker supporter to worry about long-term.  Rather, this is simply an attempt by the Patrick & Cahill people to try to find a chink in Baker’s armor.  They perceive that Charlie Baker has shed a drop of blood in the water so the sharks are now in a frenzy.

    Problem is, these ain’t Jaws, they’re more like goldfish & come Election Day, I’d rather be on Team Baker.

  • Negative campaigns do not tend to fail.  Failing campaigns tend to go negative.  Kerry Healey was an unpopular figure, in a Democratic wave year, in a heavily Democratic state.  She was set to lose.  Attempting to destroy Deval with negative ads was her only option.  When you’re trailing by 35 points in the 4th quarter you need to throw the ball down the field.  Yeah, that usually leads to interceptions.

    Regarding the Baker campaign:  They should be more concerned with Tim Cahill than potential backlash from 3rd party negative ads.  Cahill is a bigger threat to Baker than Deval is.  I’m not saying Cahill has a better chance to win than Deval, but rather his presence in the race is more of a threat to Baker as they are splitting the sizable majority of anti-Deval voters.  Defining Cahill now, rather than letting Cahill continue to define himself in a vacuum is the right strategic move.

  • 1. Be specific.  Play to your strength–detailed ideas and proposals.  Use the campaign to establish your governing agenda.  How about education?  You were a founder of the Pioneer Institute.  Nobody’s done more on school reform like charter schools and the MCAS than PI.  Lay out a broad agenda.  Cahill can talk taxes but does he have credibility on education, civil service reform, value-based management?  I think not.

    2. Define yourself in easy to understand terms.  Baker is the libertarian candidate in this race–small government and hands off my lifestyle.  There are a lot of (small l) libertarians in Massachusetts.  All this debate on who is more conservative you or Cahill just muddies the waters.  Wear your ideological label proudly.

    3. Be positive at all times.  It should be a dominant strategy.  If you run a positive campaign and win, you have loads of goodwill for your governing agenda.  If you run a positive campaign and lose, you are still a player afterwards.  If you run a negative campaign and win, all you have established is that you are better for the job than a guy who’s not around.  If you run a negative campaign and lose, you’ll be a pariah in policy circles thereafter.

    Disregard DD4RP’s advice on throwing the long bomb by going negative even in a desperate situation.  Even if your negative campaign would actually result in a victory, your tenure in office would be a miserable one and you would not be able to get anything accomplished because you have not created a mandate for your agenda.  

    Chance that my strategy will be followed given the promotion of Mr. O’Brien and the RGA ads–almost nil.  


  • the ads true?

  • First point is that the recent poll was not that important as it only polled registered voters, not likely voters, and with the large number of people that don’t know Baker, it hardly represents a reflection of what will happen in November.

    In general I think the election comes down to this as the baseline:

    Patrick 39

    Baker 39

    Cahill 20

    Others 2

    Patrick gets the Dem base, plus “give the guy some more time” plus “it’s not his fault it’s the economy” plua “I marked the wrong circle ” (joke)

    Baker gets most of the “the government is going in the wrong direction” vote

    Cahill gets “I’m mad but don’t like Republicans, I’m mad and tradtionally I’m a Dem,” I’m an independant and I think (mistakenly) Cahill is one too” plus “I want to waste my vote so you can’t blame me for the next four years”

    Cahill’s total goes down and the other’s goes up with that last group (the vote wasters). No one was going to waste their vote on Kennedy in the Scott Brown election once he had a shot. The question is the percentage that each one gets of the wasters

    Cahill does have it going on for an independent. Name recognition, money, network. This leads me to think that he won’t go to single digits like most and could be 15% or higher.

    My prediction (as of today)

    Baker 41

    Patrick 39

    Cahill 18

    Others 2

    I think some of the Cahill base will realize that four years of Deval is enough, and they’ll assume Obama will give him a job anyway, so it will be guilt free.

  • Republican Ram Rod Radio

    And I’d like to remind everyone that I called the Brown victory =>

    I think if you look closely you will see that my predictions were far more accurate than EaBo’s

    It all starts at Baker Headquarters, with Charlie yelling at his staff ……

    [Baker] ‘Way to go guys!  We are totally trailing in the polls!  How the hell am I in 3rd place in a 3 way race behind a fricken Independent!?! And what’s with everyone getting all huffy puffy about a couple negative ads?!?  Damn it!’

    [Tisei] but sir it’s only April!

    [Baker] Be quiet Tisei! Just be quiet!  You’re the one that totally got me into this mess!

    Now fast forward to November

    [Baker] ‘Way to go guys!  We are totally fricken trailing in the polls!  How the hell am I in 4’th place in a 3 way race!?!

    [Tisei] Well sir, Jill Stein is actually in this race too, making it a 4 way ……

    [Baker] Be quiet Tisei!  Just Be quiet!  You’re the one that totally got me into this mess!  John Howard would be a better running mate than you!!

    The morning after ……

    A Boston Globe lands on the Welcome mat at the front door of Baker HQ with the headline that reads …… Cahill Wins!  Cahill Wins!

    Cahill 45%

    Baker 25%

    Patrick 20%

    Stein 5%