Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection

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BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, one of the nation’s most popular governors, won’t seek reelection next year, he said Wednesday in a move that blew Massachusetts’ gubernatorial contest wide open and will ripple across down-ballot races in 2022.

And, in perhaps an even more shocking move, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito won’t run for governor in his place.

Baker and Polito said in a joint statement that a reelection bid would “be a distraction” from managing the Covid-19 pandemic. “We want to focus on recovery,” they said in a note to friends and supporters, “not on the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into.”

A moderate Republican with enduring support among Democrats and independents, Baker was the GOP’s best hope of holding onto the governor’s office in deep-blue Massachusetts and Polito was widely seen as his heir apparent. But Baker, who eschews national politics,

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