A man, dressed in a button-down shirt, jeans and casual shoes, is sitting on the steps outside a house with his 17-year-old daughter. A small dog lounges nearby. Easy guitar music plays in the background.
“Governor, Dad?” the daughter, Caroline, says. “That’s a bit optimistic.”
“Why not?” the dad, GOP nominee for governor Charlie Baker, replies in the inaugural TV advertisement of his campaign. “With Bill Weld, we made Massachusetts number one in job creation.”
On the first day of the general election campaign, Baker is launching a warm 30-second spot with one of his children, portraying himself as a personable, socially moderate family man, who will bring fiscal responsibility to Beacon Hill.
A former top official in the administration of governor William F. Weld and a former chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Baker’s spot touts his career highlights — “saved Harvard Pilgrim from bankruptcy” — and policy positions in a lighthearted back-and-forth with Caroline.
Meanwhile, a Democratic-aligned super PAC released an attack ad against Baker, which says “as a health insurance CEO, Charlie Baker increased premiums by 150 percent while tripling his own salary to $1.7 million a year. Charlie Baker profits at our expense.”
The Baker campaign spot appears to be a play for female voters. When Baker ran for unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, he fell short among women by a whopping 24 percentage points, according to one post-election poll.
“You’re totally pro-choice and bipartisan,” Caroline says in the ad, as they sit on a bench outside and the words “100% Pro-Choice” appear on screen.
“Bipartisan leadership is what we need on Beacon Hill,” he replies.
Baker turns to the camera: “We can make Massachusetts great and create jobs,” he says. How? Controlling spending, lowering taxes and requiring work for welfare, he explains.
Then, the dad and the daughter are back on the steps. The dog is gone, but the upbeat music remains.
“More jobs?” Caroline asks. “Pretty confident, huh, Dad?
Baker says it’s no problem: “I’ve done it before.”
When he ran in 2010, Baker campaigned under the bitter mantra, “Had Enough?” — trying to tap into that year’s roiling national discontent with the status quo.
This run, Baker said he is campaigning as his true self: sunny and optimistic about a great future for the state.
While the Baker spot jams a lot of information into a short period of time, it manages to hit almost all the major themes of his bid.
The ad, which the Baker campaign said would be seen widely on Boston broadcast television in the coming week, is poised to contrast with spots attacking Baker that analysts expect to begin imminently.
On Tuesday, Baker comfortably won a GOP primary victory. He’ll face Democrat Martha Coakley and independent candidates Scott Lively, Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick in November.
The super PAC, Mass Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee, which created the attack ad, is funded by powerful local unions and the Democratic Governors Association, according to a disclosure in the TV spot, which is set to be backed by about $1 million and air from Sept. 10-19. The ad is part of an expected multi-million dollar effort to knock Baker and boost the Democratic nominee.