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Why is America’s most popular governor endorsing Chris Christie?

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (that’s Chahlee Baykah, for our Boston readers) will endorse Christie for president today. He’ll attend a New Hampshire rally for Christie on Saturday, and could also make televised appearances for the candidate, a Baker adviser told The Boston Globe.

The duo might seem like an unlikely match at first glance: With a 74 percent approval rating, Baker is the country’s most popular governor. Christie, on the other hand, is a long-shot candidate, currently polling in sixth place nationally.

But with his endorsement, Baker is repaying a debt. Back in 2014, Baker was locked in a tight gubernatorial race in Massachusetts, a traditionally blue state. The Republican Governors Association, which Christie chaired at the time, made an $11.4 million investment in Baker’s campaign and helped him secure his win against Democrat Martha Coakley. Much of Christie’s team is made up of old RGA colleagues, too.

Baker’s move also sets himself up nicely as a friend of the GOP establishment. A moderate with a reputation of being able to speak across party lines, Baker is aligning himself with powerful forces like the RGA who could provide vital support in future bids (2020, anyone?).

June 26, 2019

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Welcome to TNR’s coverage of the Democratic debates.

Yes, the debates are upon us, a mere 16 months before voters will cast their ballots to decide whether President Trump should get a second term. In that time, babies will be conceived and born, the earth will orbit the sun and then some, and Democrats will, with any luck, choose a champion from the two dozen candidates running for the nomination. It all begins tonight, with the first of two debates in Miami this week featuring the 20 candidates—ten each round—who qualified to participate by either polling at 1 percent in three surveys or receiving 65,000 individual donations.

The staff of The New Republic will be watching the proceedings, offering running commentary and post-debate analysis, and hopefully answering any questions readers might have. Who’s up, who’s down? Who, if anyone, seems qualified to stall America’s spiraling descent into a fiery wasteland overseen by Trumpian kleptocrats? And who is Eric Swalwell, anyway? Pop by TNR’s Minutes blog at 9 o’clock EST tonight and tomorrow night to find out!