Charles Baker takes governor’s race to a shoe shop

Charles D. Baker took his campaign for governor into Framingham, where he also bought new shoes.
Steven Senne /associated press
Charles D. Baker took his campaign for governor into Framingham, where he also bought new shoes.

FRAMINGHAM — Sporting a decorative tie in celebration of his 57th birthday, gubernatorial hopeful Charles D. Baker bounded into Panza Shoes on Wednesday afternoon and made a cheerful declaration to everyone in the store: He was going to buy new footwear.

“I could really use another pair of dress shoes; I’m like 12D, maybe,” he told Robert Bronzetti, an employee at the shop in downtown Framingham.

“I’m not much of a loafer guy,” Baker explained as he carefully looked at the collection of fancy shoes on display. “I’m more of a tie-shoe guy.”


Baker also expressed interest in more casual kicks.

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He tried on a pair of New Balance sneakers with orange trim, size 13D, and was pleased with how they felt.

Baker, who launched his campaign for governor in September with a promise that a more genuine version of himself would emerge than during his losing 2010 effort, was relentlessly, often boyishly, cheerful during an hourlong tour Wednesday of this town a half-hour drive west of Boston.

Melding witty repartee with wonkish enthusiasm for policy, the Swampscott Republican showed none of the anger and outrage that sometimes marked his effort to unseat Democratic Governor Deval Patrick three years ago.

At the Framingham Parks and Recreation office, he seemed to revel in talking with Bob Merusi, a town official, about a local recreation area. Baker peppered him with questions about a park and chatted excitedly about a new trail.


At an insurance agency, he told a few people gathered around him that on this, his birthday, he was a “ripe old 39 for the 18th time.”

He also visited the town clerk’s office and chatted about bipartisanship with a woman who recommended he read a new book about how Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan worked together.

In an interview, Baker was asked if, after about two months on the campaign trail, he had succeeded in his goal of being more true to himself.

“Let’s put it this way: Most of the people who know me well have enjoyed their opportunities to participate with me on the campaign trail,” he said with a smile. “So I think that’s a yes.”

At the shoe store, after trying on the pair of New Balance sneakers, he slipped into some well-buffed Bostonian dress shoes


“God, they sure are shiny when they’re new,” he said with a touch of awe.

He bought both pairs.

Dan Hunt announces run for Marty Walsh’s spot in State House

Just over a week after Martin J. Walsh was elected mayor of Boston, the race to succeed him as the state representative for a diverse swath of Dorchester is heating up.

Dan Hunt, director of government affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, said late Tuesday he would be a candidate for the 13th Suffolk District.

“I’m running because I have a strong commitment to public service, the neighborhood, and its people,” said Hunt, who appeared to be the first person to jump in the race.

At least a half-dozen others have said they are mulling a bid to represent the district, which runs from near the JFK/UMass MBTA station to Walsh’s home base of Savin Hill to the Neponset neighborhood and includes a tiny chunk of Quincy.

Steve Bickerton Jr., a 29-year-old Dorchester native who works for a property management company in Cambridge and helped out on Walsh’s mayoral campaign, said earlier this week that he was considering a run.

“I am very seriously looking at it,” he said.

Last week, five people besides Hunt told the Globe they were considering running:

  Former Walsh legislative aide Michael Christopher, 28, who works in the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security;

  Mariama White-
Hammond, 34, executive director of Project HIP-HOP, a youth social justice and arts organization;

  Craig M. Galvin, 44, who owns a Dorchester real estate firm;

  Annissa Essaibi George, 39, who finished fifth in this month’s race for four at-large City Council seats; and

  Bill Walczak, 59, who lost in the preliminary mayoral election in September.

The seat has twice served as a springboard for serious mayoral candidates in the past 20 years. Walsh’s predecessor, former state representative James T. Brett, ran unsuccessfully against Thomas M. Menino in 1993.

Walsh, who is not expected to make a candidate endorsement in the State House race, has said he will officially resign his seat early next year.

When that happens, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, in consultation with the secretary of state, will decide whether and when to hold a special election.

Joshua Miller