Despite the best efforts of a renewed Massachusetts Republican party, Patrick seems to be on his way to a second term. A recent poll shows him with a 14-point lead over his closest challenger, Charlie Baker, former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO. Baker has outraised Patrick nearly two to one, but despite a new slogan — “Had Enough?” — he still can’t break away from the most unpopular governor in America.State Treasurer Tim Cahill, a Democrat-turned-independent, is running as an outsider concerned with the state budget and has raised considerable concerns about the sustainability of Massachusetts' health-care program.
And it isn’t for lack of trying. Hoping to play a social-liberal/fiscal-conservative line, Baker picked Richard Tisei, a progressive and openly gay Republican state senator as his running mate, even going so far as to march with him in a gay-pride parade. Much good it did him. Mass Equality gave its endorsement to Patrick anyway, for the simple reason that Tisei “is not running for governor.”
Meanwhile, Republicans have spent plenty of money attacking Cahill, a move which seems only to have improved Deval Patrick's approval ratings.
Though reelection efforts are often viewed as a referendum on an incumbent, the mere unpopularity of a political figure is not always enough to guarantee his or her defeat at the polls---a fact that Massachusetts Republicans and Republicans nationwide will need to take to heart.