TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell is considering whether to seek the Republican nomination for governor following Gov. Charlie Baker’s surprise announcement that he won’t seek another term.
“She is receiving much encouragement to run for governor,” Holly Robichaud, a political consultant who works for O’Connell, told 12 News. “No decision has been made. She truly loves her job as mayor of Taunton.”
O’Connell was elected mayor in 2019 after her predecessor, Democrat Thomas Hoye, resigned to take a state position appointed by Baker. She is a former Republican state representative and ran unopposed for a second term last month. Her potential candidacy was first reported by Politico.
Baker and his heir apparent, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, shocked many political observers on Wednesday when they announced that neither one would seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2022. Former state Rep. Geoff Diehl had already announced a primary challenge against Baker with the support of former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly clashed with Baker.
A number of other Republicans are also reportedly considering seeking the GOP nomination now that Baker and Polito are out of the mix.
On the Democratic side, three candidates have already announced gubernatorial campaigns — Harvard University professor Danielle Allen, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, and former state Sen. Ben Downing. Two other big names, Attorney General Maura Healey and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, are also seriously eyeing whether to get into the race.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook
Steve Laxton contributed to this report.