For the first time in the 2022 election cycle, Governor Charlie Baker offered his endorsement for a statewide candidate.
In a campaign e-mail sent to supporters Monday, Baker backed Republican candidate for auditor Anthony Amore, the director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state in 2018.
Monday’s endorsement is Baker’s first for a statewide candidate this cycle.
“As an independent and experienced watchdog, Anthony will be able to keep the checks and balances on Beacon Hill and help preserve and continue the work the Baker-Polito administration has done over the last seven years,” Baker wrote.
In an interview with the Globe last week, Amore said he has spoken to the governor, but declined to disclose the topic of conversation.
“My conversations with him are private,” the Winchester Republican said of Baker. “But I hope people understand that one of my goals is to protect the legacy of Baker and Polito as they leave office. I don’t want to see [the work] undone when he leaves office.”
Amore announced his run earlier this month, pitching himself as a seasoned investigator whose experience auditing and managing security programs makes him a good fit for the statewide position.
“I started this campaign with the belief that Massachusetts residents want checks and balances in state government,” Amore wrote in a statement Monday. “Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito have brought independence to Beacon Hill, and I hope to keep that bipartisanship alive and well if elected.”
Baker’s support for Amore was teased at the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston last week, where transportation advocate Chris Dempsey, a Democratic candidate for auditor, joked about Amore’s job as head of security for the museum, famously home to what is said to be the biggest art heist in US history, which remains unsolved.
“Governor, I know you recruited him to run for this race,” Dempsey said. “So you’re going to send us the MBTA’s reliability director next to also jump in?”
A smiling Baker gave Dempsey the middle finger, which was captured by a Boston Herald photographer.
Baker, who has kept his distance from the controversies of the national Republican Party and maintained popularity among Massachusetts voters as a moderate, announced in December that he would not seek a third term. He has been at odds with his own state party, whose conservative, Trump-aligned chairman, Jim Lyons, has repeatedly slammed Baker.
Amore’s politics are more in line with Baker’s centrist tendencies, the candidate said.
“I have the professionalism, I have the experience, and I have the ability to do this without injecting politics into it,” Amore told the Globe last week.
Longtime friend and colleague James Lawton, a former FBI special agent, called Amore “conservative but not myopic.”
“He is very open to other people’s opinions to listen in,” Lawton said. “He’s certainly a moderate Republican.”
Come fall, Amore, 54, will face either state Senator Diana DiZoglio of Methuen or Dempsey of Brookline, who both are running in the Democratic primary to serve as the state’s chief accountability officer.
Auditor Suzanne Bump, who was the first woman to hold the statewide office when she was elected in 2010, announced last May that she would not seek a fourth term.