FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia broke with his party on Thursday, announcing that he is endorsing Republican Gov. Charlie Baker over Democratic nominee Jay Gonzalez.
Correia was one of 22 mayors, 10 of them Democrats, whose support for Baker was announced by his campaign on Thursday, two days after he and Gonzalez won their party primaries.
“Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito are leading by example, with the kind of bipartisan leadership our Commonwealth needs for growth and progress,” Correia, a 27-year-old currently in his second term, said in a statement issued by Baker’s campaign.
“They have especially demonstrated their commitment to the South Coast, from improvements to our state pier, and taking a significant step towards rail to Boston, after years of promises,” he continued. “Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito have championed Fall River and deserve our support for four more years.”
Gonzalez’s campaign manager, Kevin Ready, declined to comment directly on Correia’s decision, but dismissed its importance.
“Big money, endorsements, and pundits don’t decide elections, people do,” Ready said in a statement. “Jay is running a strong grassroots campaign fueled by regular people and their desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives and we are confident that will lead us to victory on Nov. 6.”
The cross-party mayoral endorsements are part of a larger effort by the Baker campaign to burnish his bipartisan credentials, with polls continuing to show him as the most popular governor in the nation despite being a Republican in a deep-blue state.
And Correia may not be the only one of the four mayors, all Democrats, in relatively conservative Bristol County to back the GOP incumbent this fall.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has not backed a candidate for governor yet, but he has previously said he has a productive relationship with Baker and is thought to be open to a potential endorsement.
Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye said he has not yet endorsed a candidate for governor. “I’m still weighing my options,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Asked if he was open to backing Baker, Hoye said, “I am. I want to endorse a candidate that I think is going to provide the best support for the city of Taunton, and that’s what it’s all about.”
One local Democratic mayor has endorsed Gonzalez, according to his spokesman: Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux, a former Democratic state lawmaker. Baker campaigned for the Republican incumbent Heroux ousted, Kevin Dumas, last year.