Governor Charlie Baker quietly slipped away Wednesday to Arizona to attend an annual gathering of the Republican Governors Association, weeks after it poured millions of dollars into his successful reelection bid.
Baker will return Friday from the two-day meeting in Scottsdale, according to his office. The Swampscott Republican, who has otherwise shunned national GOP politics, has regularly attended the partisan organization’s confabs since his election in 2014, sometimes with little public notice.
Jim Conroy, a Baker campaign adviser, said the governor is expected to speak at the event, and is also sitting on a selection committee for the RGA’s new executive director. The committee is expected to interview candidates at the conference, he said.
After Baker departed Wednesday morning, his aides did not announce his attendance at the event. His office did not release a schedule for his travel, but signaled he was traveling when it identified Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito as “acting governor” in a public itinerary it distributed for her just after 8 a.m.
The lieutenant governor serves in an acting capacity whenever the governor is out of state.
The RGA spent heavily in Baker’s bid for a second term, dropping $6.6 million into a local super PAC to fund a series of TV ads touting his work in the corner office. The association spent more than $11 million on his behalf in 2014, when he won his first term over then-Democratic nominee Martha Coakley.