Massachusetts residents are going to have the opportunity to vote for an openly gay Lieutenant Governor. Or, at least if they are Republican, they will be. (Boston.com)
Gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker followed a Massachusetts Republican tradition on Monday by selecting a veteran state legislator to be his running mate in next year’s election.
Baker, the former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care president, tapped Sen. Richard Tisei as his ally for a primary against fellow Republican Christy Mihos. The winner faces the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Deval Patrick, and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who is running as an independent, in the November 2010 general election.
Tisei is the minority leader in the Senate. And while it was long an “open secret” that he’s gay, last week he made his orientation public, saying “It is not exactly a news flash. I don’t think people really care these days.’”
Tisei, who owns a real estate company in Lynnfield, is the most veteran Republican in the Senate, have first won election in 1984 at the age of 22. Now 47, he served six years in the House before winning the first of ten consecutive two-year terms in the Senate.
While describing himself as a fiscal conservative, Tisei is considered a social liberal. He revealed last week that he is gay, and he has supported efforts to legalize gay marriage in Massachusetts. Baker recently revealed his brother is gay, and he has been a longtime supporter of gay marriage.
Baker has the support of the Republican party structure in Massachusetts and the endorsement of the four prior Republican governors (yes, including Mitt Romney).