BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Former Massachusetts Attorney General and Democrat Tom Reilly last week strayed from his party in backing Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker.
At a press conference on Thursday, Reilly appeared with employees of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, where Baker was CEO for a decade, on the Statehouse steps.
He appeared to respond to incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick's so-called "attacks" on Baker's performance as Harvard Pilgrim's chief.
"Charlie Baker took Harvard Pilgrim from the brink of bankruptcy and turned it around to the best health insurance company in the country," Reilly said in a statement.
"Massachusetts faces similar difficulties right now and that's why Charlie Baker is the right person to put the Commonwealth on the right path."
Reilly had approved the placement of the company into receivership in the 1990s when Baker took over the company, which had been facing financial collapse.
Some say Reilly's jumping party lines is a result of bitterness.
"(Reilly) didn't do very well against Deval Patrick four years ago," Democratic media consultant Michael Shea told the Boston Herald.
Reilly ran for governor against Patrick in 2006 and placed third in the primary.
But Reilly, now a private lawyer, said on Thursday Baker simply is "the best man for the job."
"We need change and we need new leadership," he told the crowd.
According to a Rasmussen Reports survey released on Monday, Patrick maintains a slight lead over Baker.
The telephone survey of likely voters in the state found Patrick with 47 percent support and Baker with 42 percent. Independent candidate Tim Cahill is a far distant third with 6 percent. Three percent like another candidate in the race, and 2 percent are still undecided.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.