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Cahill running mate defects to Baker

The running mate for Democrat-turned-independent candidate Tim Cahill in the Massachusetts governor's race has defected to Republican Charles Baker's campaign today.

State Rep. Paul Loscocco (R) dropped out as Cahill's choice for lieutenant governor today and endorsed Baker, First Read has learned. In a statement obtained by NBC News, Loscocco said he did not want to be part of a spoiler campaign.

"I cannot sit idly by as my friends and supporters cast their votes for my ticket, knowing that the best chance to defeat Governor Patrick is with Charlie Baker," Loscocco will say at a press conference later this morning. "I cannot and will not let my ego get in the way of doing what is right for Massachusetts. Charlie Baker has the experience that can help Massachusetts head in a new direction and I'm pleased to endorse him today. This election is an opportunity to put Massachusetts back on track towards economic recovery. I urge voters who want new leadership on Beacon Hill to join me in voting for Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei on Election Day." (Full statement after the jump.)

This is welcome news for the Republican Governors Association, which has spent more than $1 million in ads against Cahill, the state treasurer. Baker is seen as having a better shot against incumbent Deval Patrick in a head-to-head campaign.


"This takes away all Cahill's ability to attract center-right voters," a GOP operative involved in the race believes. "Now Cahill and Patrick are left to fight over center-left voters and the unions. It shows this is a two-person race and Baker has all the momentum."

FULL LOSCOCCO STATEMENT:

Boston - Today Lt. Governor candidate Paul Loscocco announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy on the Independent ticket and is endorsing Charlie Baker for Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A press availability will be announced later in the morning.

Partial excerpts of his remarks that will be delivered at the press availability are as follows:
I ran to have a spirited debate on the issues and to advocate for new ways to create jobs, lower taxes, protect personal freedoms, and fight for the principles of Ronald Reagan who inspired me to become a Republican as a young man.

The primary between the Independent ticket and Republican ticket in the hearts and minds of the voters who want a change from Governor Patrick is now over. Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei have prevailed over Tim Cahill and me.

I cannot sit idly by as my friends and supporters cast their votes for my ticket, knowing that the best chance to defeat Governor Patrick is with Charlie Baker. I cannot and will not let my ego get in the way of doing what is right for Massachusetts. So while this is a tough decision for me today personally, it is the right decision to put the future of our state ahead of my own self-interest.

Charlie Baker has the experience that can help Massachusetts head in a new direction and I'm pleased to endorse him today.
This election is an opportunity to put Massachusetts back on track towards economic recovery. I urge voters who want new leadership on Beacon Hill to join me in voting for Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei on Election Day.