Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick formally kicked off his reelection campaign today, beginning what promises to be a hard-fought battle to retain his post as the state’s top official.
Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray are crisscrossing the state all weekend, meeting with supporters and Democratic officials to rally support for the beleaguered administration. The agenda is so packed—events are scheduled in 18 cities over the next two days—that Patrick had already attended two breakfasts and one brunch this morning before returning to Boston for a noon kick-off rally at Boston English High School in Jamaica Plain. Two more kick-off rallies are scheduled for later today in Worchester and Holyoke.
The path to a second term will not be easy for Patrick, whose administration has been on the defensive since the early days of his governorship. Within months of taking office, Patrick came under fire for spending $27,387 of taxpayer money to redecorate his office, and for replacing his state-issued Ford with a more expensive Cadillac. He has since fought several times with the legislature over spending measures while presiding over a devastating economic collapse. And while the national financial crisis cannot be pinned squarely on the governor, he has regardless felt the brunt of voters’ ire.
Complicating Patrick’s reelection bid is a crowded field of challengers, all hoping to gain from the governor’s sagging job approval rating; a Rasmussen poll in March pegged the Governor’s support among likely voters at just 39 percent. (The most recent Rasmussen poll, conducted last week, showed his support rising to 46 percent which, while encouraging, is still dangerously low for the incumbent.)
Political neophytes Charles Baker and Christy Mihos are campaigning for the GOP nomination, though Baker is expected to win that contest easily. Mihos, who is campaigning largely out of pocket, has taken on a libertarian edge, seeking to cash in on the populist tone Senator Scott Brown used to score his huge political upset. Jill stein is running on the Green-Rainbow ticket, while that party’s most recent gubernatorial candidate, Grace Ross, is challenging Patrick for the Democratic nod.
State Treasurer Timothy Cahill, a former Democrat turned independent, is also campaigning, and he and Baker appear to be the only legitimate challengers to Patrick’s reelection. The latest Rasmussen poll (they’re the only pollster consistently tabbing this race) of that potential three-way matchup shows Patrick with a slim lead, garnering 35 percent to Baker’s 27 percent and Cahill’s 23.
Tags: approval rating, cadillac, campaign, charles baker, christy mihos, deval patrick, election, governor, grace ross, gubernatorial, julie stein, Massachusetts, poll numbers, rasmussen, timothy cahill