WORCESTER, Mass. (CN) – Dealing a blow to the re-election chances of a Republican ranked as America’s most popular governor, an anti-gay, pro-Trump pastor managed to grab a fourth of the GOP support at the Republican convention this weekend in Massachusetts.
Governor Charlie Baker received 69.7 percent of the vote from delegates, which fell short of the 85 percent threshold to avoid a primary election. Scott Lively received 26.7 percent of vote, winning him a spot on the Sept. 4, 2018, ballot.
“There is no place and no point in public life or any life for a lot of things that Lively says and believes that’s why I’m pleased that 7 out of 10 delegates in that convention chose us as their nominees,” Baker told reporters, during a televised scrum following the April 28 convention results.
Lively, who ran for governor in 2014 as an independent, is running against the incumbent governor from the right as an outspoken advocate for “religious freedom” and gun rights.
“I’m here to represent the full, conservative spectrum of republicanism,” Lively said during his record convention speech. “There is only one man in this nation that is responsible for the economic miracle that we’ve experience since the election in 2016. That’s out president, Donald Trump. You did not do that. That’s stolen valor.”
Michael Goldman, a longtime Democratic consulting in Massachusetts, said the results had more to do with the criticism from state Republicans over Baker’s lack of vocal support for President Donald Trump.
“It has nothing to do with Lively and it has everything to do with a portion of the party that thinks the governor has not been more supportive of the national republican agenda,” said Goldman in a telephone interview. “They took out their anger over not being more supportive of president Trump by sporting a candidate that is an embarrassment to the party and to the state.”
Earlier this month, marketing firm Morning Consult ranked Baker as the most popular in the country, with a 71 percent approval rating.
Despite Massachusetts’s reputation as a stalwart blue state, Deval Patrick is the sole Democrat to have won the governor’s office since Michael Dukakis left in 1991.
Lively, who unsuccessfully ran for Massachusetts governor in 2010 as an independent, is known for recently facing crimes-against-humanity charges from Ugandan LGBTQ activists.
The Sexual Minorities of Uganda sued Lively in 2012 after he consulted with the Uganda government in its crafting of anti-gay laws. The lawsuit was filed in the District of Massachusetts but dismissed last year for lack of jurisdiction.
Despite winning in court, Lively filed an appeal a few days later in the First Circuit based on the negative language that U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor used to describe Lively while dismissing the case against him. A decision on the appeal is still pending.