Hughes doubts Dems have 'A Team' candidate against Baker

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BOSTON — Democrats who are now mulling a bid for governor hail from the lower echelons of the party, according to the chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.

Kirsten Hughes, the Quincy City Council president elected to lead the state Republican Party in 2013, suggested Democrats lack a candidate of the political caliber of Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican expected to run for re-election in 2018.

On an episode of WCVB's 'On The Record' that aired Sunday morning, Hughes was asked about Jay Gonzalez, a Democrat who was secretary of administration and finance under former Gov. Deval Patrick and is now considering a run for governor.

"People are going to come in and out and it looks like Democrats are kinda putting up their B, C team. And Governor Baker is going to be able to run on his strong record," Hughes said.

She said, "I don't know what their A team is. I mean, I don't think there is an A team against Charlie Baker, but look, that's who's coming out to decide to put the feelers out there."

Newton Mayor Setti Warren, a Democrat, is also openly weighing a run for governor. Gonzalez's professional background roughly tracks Baker's, as a former state budget chief who went on to run a health insurance company.

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford said in a statement that Hughes's commentary amounted to name-calling, which he linked to President-elect Donald Trump.

"This is a glimpse of the Massachusetts Republican party under Trump. They can't talk about the issues so they call people names," Bickford said in a statement to the News Service.

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