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Candidate Fisher To Mass. GOP: Show Clean Convention Tally And I’ll Drop Suit

By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press
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Mark Fisher. (WBZ-TV)

Mark Fisher. (WBZ-TV)

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BOSTON (AP) – Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher said Monday he’d consider dropping a lawsuit against the state GOP over initially being denied a spot on the primary ballot.

Fisher said he’d be willing to forego additional legal action if the party released tally sheets from its March 22 convention and they didn’t show improprieties.

“Let’s put this behind us,” he said.

Convention delegates endorsed Baker and party officials said Fisher, a tea party member, fell just shy of the 15 percent support needed to qualify for the ballot. The GOP later agreed to certify Fisher, but he continues to seek monetary damages.

Fisher made the comments after a forum with fellow GOP candidate Charlie Baker where the two sparred on everything from casinos to the minimum wage.

“Maybe our biggest challenge is to figure out how to be the kind of state where there is opportunity for everyone no matter where you live or what your chosen industry or profession is,” Baker said.

Fisher said the economy is on the wrong track, citing high taxes and burdensome regulations. He said both Baker and Democrats are downplaying the extent of the economic woes.

“We’re known as Taxachusetts,” said Fisher. “If we continue down this track we will be known as Detroitachusetts.”

The two also split on health care. Baker said he believes access to health care was a basic right. Fisher disagreed, saying people should choose whether they want insurance.

Baker said there should be only one casino in Massachusetts. He said he disagreed with Attorney General Martha Coakley — a Democrat running for governor — who decided to keep a question that would repeal the law off the November ballot. Baker would not say how he would vote on the question. Fisher said he would vote to repeal casinos.

Baker also said he was concerned about how the state gaming commission would break a possible 2-2 tie on an eastern Massachusetts casino now that commission Chairman Stephen Crosby has recused himself from the vote.

Fisher said he opposed any hike in the state minimum wage, saying it should be a matter between employees and employers.

Baker said he supported a higher wage but opposed automatically linking future hikes to the rate of inflation. He also wanted to add a tax credit for small businesses to offset the cost of minimum wage hikes.

The candidates also disagreed on climate change, with Fisher calling it a “myth” and Baker saying he thinks the climate is changing and there is evidence of it.

Both candidates said they would support investigating the possibility of Boston bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

On the Cape Wind project, Baker said he opposed the offshore wind farm, but said it may be too late because most of the permitting is done. Fisher said there should be a “moratorium” on further Cape Wind development.

The debate was sponsored by Commonwealth Magazine, the group “A Better City,” and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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