Did Richard Tisei’s stunt on Friday cause the voting on Saturday to be closer than it may have been?
On Friday, Charlie Baker’s former running mate Richard Tisei publicly announced his plans to boycott the convention this weekend. The majority of news reports going into Charlie Baker’s presumptive super-majority win at convention, were all about Richard Tisei.
It is understandable that Tisei has a personal problem with the platform. Many delegates, like Dan Winslow, shared his views on the platform but went to the convention to support Charlie and maybe try to change minds. Joining Richard Tisei in not attending the convention was Nancy Luther, his biggest ally on the Republican State Committee, according to State Committee members in attendance at the morning SC meeting.
Sources close to the Baker campaign shared with Red Mass Group that Tisei did not give them a heads up on his actions. They told Red Mass Group that he told them he would not be going to convention, but didn’t say that he would make a public statement on the eve of the convention.
The sentiment of the assembled delegates was that Tisei stabbed Baker in the back. Moderates, Liberals, and conservatives alike had the same feeling, Tisei’s actions were a direct attack on Charlie Baker.
Published reports state that Fisher fell about six votes short of getting on the ballot. It is not a stretch to think that there were undecideds and weak Baker supporters who ended up voting for Fisher over Tisei’s comments. Not to mention that Tisei’s vote himself would have increased the razor thin margin of victory for Baker.
Tisei worked to downplay his non attendance on Sunday in the Boston Herald.
Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. John Tierney in 2012 and is challenging him again this year, said: “I do think having such a competitive primary on the Democratic side will give Charlie time between now and the general election to make himself known and really lay out an agenda of where he wants to take the state. From this point on, it’s full steam ahead for Charlie.”
That’s well and good, but it is very possible that Tisei snuffed the fire for that steam out.