Capital Source

As GOP breaks apart, Baker breaks bread with Dems

As his party convulses over the prospect of nominating Donald J. Trump for president, Republican Governor Charlie Baker sought the company – and cuisine – of Democrats on Friday.

Baker and several top aides met for a networking lunch at the venerable Rino’s Place in East Boston with a whole cast of powerbrokers from Eastie and beyond.

Across the table from Baker: state Representative Aaron Michlewitz, a North End Democrat whose committee hours earlier had released a revised version of Baker’s proposal to regulate ride-for-hire firms like Uber and Lyft. Next to the governor: House Majority Leader Ron Mariano of Quincy, with whom Baker has had some disagreements over film tax credit policy. Also at the table were Suffolk University senior vice president John Nucci and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, evidently back on the lunch circuit after his gastric sleeve surgery last year.


Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore, chief of staff Steve Kadish, and several younger aides joined the head table.

Top economic development adviser Jay Ash and chief secretary Carlo Basile were seated at a nearby table with former Senate president Robert E. Travaglini and his business partners, former Patrick administration chief of staff Arthur Bernard and attorney Tom Kiley. City Councilor Sal LaMattina, lobbyist and former state senator Anthony Petruccelli, retired advertising executive Jack Connors, and Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau president Pat Moscaritolo helped round out that side of the room.

The event did not appear on the governor’s schedule. And, in perhaps a sign of just how cozy Baker has become with Democrats, they all had to dig into their wallets when the bill came.

“Everyone chipped in,” said Baker spokesman Tim Buckley.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at