Reporter's Election Notebook: Baker camp erroneously touts Hart endorsement, apologizes

A campaign flier distributed to voters the weekend before the preliminary election by the Frank Baker campaign touting his endorsement by state Sen. Jack Hart was quickly repudiated by Hart, who says he has not endorsed anyone. Hart said Baker’s listing of his name as a supporter was “improper and unauthorized.”

The Baker campaign’s blunder came days before District 3 voters went to the polls, although it appeared to have little impact on voters, with Baker coming in first place out of seven in Tuesday’s preliminary balloting.

“I will be in communication with the Baker campaign sometime today to ask for an explanation as to why an unauthorized endorsement is in their literature piece and ask for a retraction,” Hart told the Reporter on Sunday.

In a statement e-mailed to the Reporter after inquiries about the mailer, the Baker campaign said, “In the heat of the final days of this preliminary election a mail piece was sent out highlighting a number of endorsements received by our campaign. Unfortunately, in the rush to get the mail piece out in time, we inadvertently left Senator Jack Hart’s name on the final version.”

The statement said that while Sen. Hart has made “numerous” positive statements about Baker’s candidacy, he hasn’t endorsed a candidate “and we apologize for any error that has occurred.” The statement added: “This was an honest mistake by the campaign and we want to clarify the situation.”
Hart, the majority whip in the state Senate, is a South Boston Democrat whose First Suffolk Senate district includes District 3.

“I know Frank Baker and I think Frank Baker is a great candidate,” Hart said on Sunday. “I know other candidates in the race, John O’Toole, Mary [Tuitt] and others, and I think this is a great race that’s going to play out. The people are going to decide who is the best person for this job.”

Earlier this summer, Baker was endorsed by state Rep. Marty Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat, and state Rep. Nick Collins, a South Boston Democrat. A slew of unions, including ones representing pressmen, ironworkers, and taxi drivers, have also endorsed Baker.

Baker wasn’t the only one involved with a misleading mailer: Fourth-place finisher Doug Bennett sent out a four-pager featuring a picture of him and Gov. Deval Patrick.

When asked about the picture, Bennett noted that he did not say in the mailer that Patrick had endorsed him. Bennett added that it was “just a picture” and declined further comment.

A spokesman for Patrick’s campaign committee did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Material from State House News Service was used in this report. Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.

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