Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday he’s “flattered” to be among a handful of Republicans reportedly being floated for a potential Cabinet spot should former vice president Joe Biden win the White House. But the governor said he intends to “at least” finish his second term, which ends in 2023.
“First of all, both the lieutenant governor and I said when we ran for reelection two years ago — it seems like a hundred years ago — that we were going to serve our terms. And I intend to do that,” Baker said at an unrelated news conference in Revere.
“You’re going to be stuck with me for at least the next two years anyway," added Baker, who hasn’t ruled out seeking a third term. “Flattered to be considered but I like the job I have.”
Speculation about Baker’s federal prospects bubbled to the surface Tuesday when Politico reported that the Swampscott Republican was among the names mentioned within Biden’s transition team as it seeks to give the former vice president ideological options for his Cabinet.
Biden staffers are analyzing some Republicans' backgrounds and resumes as they compile shortlists of candidates for high-profile Cabinet positions, the news outlet reported.
Two Republicans who spoke at the Democratic National Convention — former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and former Ohio governor John Kasich — have also been reportedly mentioned, as were former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and former congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.
How real the bipartisan gesture could be is unclear. The report did not specify what role Baker could be considered for, though the former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care chief executive has a deep working knowledge of the health care industry.
Politically, he also could provide across-the-aisle appeal should Biden beat President Trump in November’s election: Baker is a twice-elected, socially liberal Republican from a blue state, and he has built a reputation as a Trump critic, including with repeated criticisms of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Baker has repeatedly said he has no interest in running for federal office, but, should he join a potential Biden administration, he could follow in the steps of his father, with whom he is very close. The elder Charles Baker served as an assistant secretary of transportation in the Nixon administration under John Volpe — a former Massachusetts governor whose portrait hangs in Baker’s ceremonial office — and later, as undersecretary of Health and Human Services under President Reagan.
Baker’s own mentors also left Beacon Hill to pursue federal appointments: Governor William F. Weld resigned during his second term after President Clinton tapped him to be US ambassador to Mexico, though Weld ultimately withdrew; and the late Paul Cellucci, after winning his own term as governor, resigned in 2001 to become the US ambassador to Canada under President Bush.
Still, Baker has gone out of his way to mute speculation about his federal prospects. After he won reelection in 2018, he said that he would “absolutely” complete his second term, which runs until January 2023.
He also has said he’s weighing whether to seek a third consecutive four-term in 2022 — something no Massachusetts incumbent governor has ever done.