BOSTON — Republican Party officials said yesterday they plan in the coming days to certify Republican candidate for governor Mark Fisher to appear on the September primary ballot regardless of what comes from his lawsuit against the party, setting up a likely contest against GOP frontrunner Charlie Baker.
Attorneys for both the MassGOP and Fisher were in court yesterday where Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins said he would cancel an expedited trial on Fisher’s ballot access lawsuit that had been scheduled for June 16 provided that the certification papers are delivered to the Secretary of State’s office.
Certification of the Shrewsbury Republican to appear on the ballot would ensure that Baker, the preferred choice of Republicans at their nominating convention, will have a Tea Party primary opponent over the next four months, as long as Fisher’s nomination signatures are certified.
Louis Ciavarra, lawyer for the Republican Party, said the MassGOP planned to convene its executive committee over the coming days to certify Fisher for the ballot, and said the offer of ballot access from the party no longer depended on whether Fisher agreed to drop his lawsuit.
“It wasn’t always the case. That’s currently the position today,” Ciavarra said. He said the certification papers would likely be filed no later than Monday with Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.
Fisher must still have at least 10,000 voter signatures certified to appear on the ballot against Baker. A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin said Fisher has already had more than 10,000 signatures certified at the local level, but the paperwork must still be properly filed with Galvin’s office by June 3.
“Charlie welcomes Mr. Fisher to the race and looks forward to demonstrating that he is the only candidate, Democrat or Republican, with the experience necessary to lead state government, and the values that are consistent with Massachusetts voters,” Baker spokesman Tim Buckley said in a statement. “The people of Massachusetts deserve a leader focused on creating jobs, improving our schools and making our communities great. Charlie is grateful for all the support his campaign has received from people looking for a new direction to make Massachusetts a great place to live.”