In the first debate among Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor, the three 2018 hopefuls spoke in support of western Mass. infrastructure projects, while slamming the incumbent, Republican Charlie Baker.
About 100 people attended the debate in a humid high school auditorium in the town of East Longmeadow Saturday. The candidates included former Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez, Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Bob Massie, the former head of the Sustainable Solutions Lab at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
All three candidates said they support more study into a high-speed rail connecting the eastern and western parts of Massachusetts.
"I have been out here, and I understand the -- over and over again -- ways in which decisions have been made that shortchange here, and benefit the eastern part of the state," said Massie, a Somerville resident.
The debate revealed little daylight between the candidates' positions. They each argued that Baker must be replaced by a Democrat.
They criticized Baker for his administration's ties to Excellent Schools-Advocacy, a pro-charter school nonprofit fined more than $425,000 by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance for violating state campaign finance law.
"At the end of the day, we've got to beat Charlie Baker," Warren said.
The could be tough. A recent poll by the Morning Consult found Baker to be the nation's most popular governor.