BOSTON (CBS) – I hope you had a chance to watch the WBZ-TV Gubernatorial Debate between Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and his Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez. If you missed it, you can watch it on demand at

But here are a few quick impressions from my ringside seat as moderator.

In his first TV debate, I suspect Gonzalez made a good impression on undecided voters unfamiliar with him. He was articulate and thoughtful, and didn’t come off as a jerk while on the offensive against the Baker record. And he drew some clear contrasts with Baker – on issues like racism in the criminal justice system and repeal of parental consent laws on abortions for minors.

Jay Gonzalez (left) and Gov. Charlie Baker in the WBZ-TV/WSBK Governor’s Debate on October 9, 2018. (WBZ-TV)

But that won’t help him much with the moderate Democrats and independents who have rallied behind Baker. And the incumbent never seemed to break a sweat, easily dodging specific accusations by Gonzalez that the challenger often failed to follow up on. And he brushed off a line of attack that Democrats have been pursuing for two years – the effort to tie Baker to a Trump administration that is widely detested in Massachusetts.

So, who won? Gonzalez did nothing to hurt himself and probably solidified some of the support he needs to be competitive. But if he did anything to seriously undermine Baker’s extraordinary popularity and turbo-charge his own candidacy, I must have missed it.

We’re lucky to have two good people running for the top job here. They are both bright and sincere, capable of civil, thoughtful debate.

And if you think that’s no big deal, you ought to get a load of some of the turkeys who are running in other states.

I’d like to hear your take on the debate. Share it with me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Jon Keller


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