QUINCY, Mass. — Independent Timothy Cahill, seeking to draw energy from the surprise defections of his running mate and two top staffers, vowed Friday to remain in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race until Election Day and said the "unprecedented insiders' play" proved he is the true outsider in the race.
Flanked by his wife and father, Cahill jabbed at former running mate Paul Loscocco just hours after he announced he was ending his own independent campaign for lieutenant governor and endorsing Republican candidate Charles Baker.
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Loscocco said, "Tim cannot win," and continuing their campaign would split the anti-incumbent vote and give Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick a second term. That echoed a sentiment expressed last week by Cahill senior adviser John Weaver and campaign manager Adam Meldrum when they submitted their resignations.
All three formerly worked on the campaigns of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
"When they try to silence me, they are trying to silence you. This is an unprecedented insiders' play to try and stop change," said Cahill, the state treasurer and a former Democrat. "Well Charlie and Paul, if you thought this backroom deal would be the one to push me out of the race and facilitate your desired coronation, then you are sadly mistaken."
Cahill added: "They don't understand honor and commitment. I will continue running, and continue honoring my commitment to everyone who believes that we cannot continue business as usual on Beacon Hill."
The announcement was cheered in a campaign headquarters filled with staffers and supporters.
Despite Loscocco's defection, the former lawmaker's name will still appear alongside Cahill's as an independent candidate on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
"The ballots are already printed," said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State William F. Galvin. "Loscocco is locked in as Cahill's running mate."
If Cahill were to win, Loscocco would still be entitled to serve as lieutenant governor, a constitutional office whose occupant oversees the Governor's Council and assumes command when the governor is out of state.
Rather than have the executive branch headed by two open political enemies, however, Cahill said he would demand Loscocco's resignation, though he cannot compel it even as governor.
"As for not having a lieutenant governor, I don't plan to die. And we can save money on that useless job," Cahill said.
The most recent poll in the race showed Baker and Patrick about even, with Patrick at 35 percent and Baker at 34 percent. Cahill lagged at 11 percent, only marginally better than Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein.
During a news conference with Baker on Friday, Loscocco said, "Our message has not resonated with the voters." He said it was clear that Baker and his running mate, Richard Tisei, have the best chance of beating Patrick.
"I cannot and will not let my ego get in the way of doing what's right for Massachusetts," Loscocco added.
A stern-faced Baker told reporters, "I think at this point, the next governor of Massachusetts is going to be Deval Patrick for four more years of the same, or Charlie Baker for a change and a different direction."
Loscocco said he told Cahill on Friday morning that he was quitting, after meeting with Baker on Thursday night. Loscocco denied leaving Cahill in a lurch. He said he had been equally responsible for collecting the signatures that qualified them for the ballot.
Cahill said he was surprised to get Loscocco's phone call, adding, "I don't know what kind of job he was promised to do this."
Patrick, a close ally of President Barack Obama, responded through a statement issued by his campaign manager.
"Voters know that this kind of political scheming is a distraction from the issues that truly matter in their lives, like job creation, education and health care," said Patrick campaign manager Sydney Asbury. "Today's news is just one more indication that Charlie Baker is a Beacon Hill insider who is more interested in the same backroom deals, and politics as usual that we have worked so hard to change."
Loscocco denied any deal, but also refused to rule out working in a potential Baker administration.
"I have not been offered anything, nor have I asked for anything," he said. At another point, he said: "This is not something that we have discussed."
This program aired on October 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.