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Lucas: Baker, Biden, Trump and Diehl all on political dance card

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Lucas: Baker, Biden, Trump and Diehl all on political dance card

Will Joe Biden now endorse Charlie Baker?

Unlikely. It is a Republican primary for governor we are talking about, and an endorsement by the Democrat president of a GOP governor — even if he is a RINO — would do more harm than good.

Biden is a train wreck of a president who has plummeted so far down in the polls that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker may have to endorse him.

Besides, there are already three Democrats running for governor, with the possibility of Attorney General Maura Healey becoming the fourth. And right now, it is not known whether Baker will even seek a third term.

If he does, conservative Republican Geoff Diehl, 52, who was endorsed Monday by Donald Trump, will be waiting to knock him off in the GOP primary. If Baker doesn’t run, then Diehl has a path to the Republican nomination for governor.

Diehl was co-chair of the Trump re-election campaign in Massachusetts.

The former president’s endorsement is no small thing. That is because it is a Republican primary we are talking about and not a general November election. It will help Diehl raise funds.

There are only 469,000 registered Republicans in Massachusetts, most of whom probably voted for Trump in the last election.

While Biden easily defeated Trump in the state, 60.6% to Trump’s 32.1%, Trump did amass 1,167,202 votes. Biden got 2,382,202.

Diehl will not get most of those Trump votes in a GOP primary. But if he can get enough support from voters disaffected with Biden’s swing toward socialism, along with a hefty chunk of Republicans, he has a shot.

Diehl has shown that he can get statewide votes on his own. While he was soundly defeated by Democrat U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018, he did get 979,507 people to vote for him in the general election. Warren got 1.634,213 votes, however.

Baker, going on eight years as governor, is still a popular figure. The moderate/liberal chief executive scores well with Independents and Democrats. It is among conservative Republicans where Baker has problems.

This is partly due to the takeover of the Republican Party apparatus — namely the Republican State Committee — by Chairman Jim Lyons, a Trump enthusiast, along with a team of Trump supporters.

Lyons and the committee will control the Republican Party convention, which could be a major embarrassment to Baker should the convention endorse Diehl.

Baker is a longtime critic of fellow Republican Trump. He did not support Trump for president in 2016, or when he was president, or when he sought re-election. He let people know that he did not vote for Trump either. So now it is payback time.

In a typical Trump disjointed statement, Trump called Baker a RINO “who has done nothing for the Republican Party.”

“He has totally abandoned the principles of the Republican Party, never cutting taxes and undermining our agenda,” Trump said.

“Baker is bad on crime, disrespects our police, does nothing for our veterans, has totally botched the vaccination rollout, presided over the collapse of the MBTA, and has seen crime go to record levels,” the former president said.

Trump’s endorsement, along with Diehl’s reaction, indicates that Trump and his policies will be a major part of Diehl’s campaign. It is a given that he will go after Baker on the vaccine rollout, the scandalous death of 77 veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, the MBTA and a host of other issues.

But Diehl will openly campaign on Trump’s “America First” agenda, which has a lot of appeal among Republicans and conservatives who want to halt the illegal immigrant invasion of the country.

Diehl said, “I am inspired by the president’s (Trump) America First agenda, which he backed up by delivering on his promises during his time in the White House.”

“Like President Trump, I want to ensure a strong economy … I want families to feel safe,” Diehl said. Like Trump, he added, “I want people to feel like government isn’t working against them and that they can enjoy the individual freedoms our state and country were founded on.”

We are in a fascist-like, authoritarian Biden era of mandates. Now the FBI is tasked with monitoring the behavior of parents at local school committee meetings as in the old Soviet Union. Watch what you say, comrade.

A Diehl “Massachusetts First” campaign will appeal to a lot of people.


Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.

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Probe of Brighton councilman stems from alleged DUI incident before a council meeting

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Probe of Brighton councilman stems from alleged DUI incident before a council meeting

An investigation launched last week by the city of Brighton into the conduct of Councilman Kris Jordinelli stemmed from an incident in August in which police say Jordinelli drove drunk to a city council meeting, and when later questioned at his home, identified himself as an elected official and told the officer “you don’t want to mess with me.”

City of Brighton

Brighton Councilman Kris Jordinelli

The Aug. 17 incident is outlined in a 12-page police report obtained by The Denver Post. Jordinelli, who was elected to the council in November 2019, was charged with misdemeanor DUI. The case is scheduled for a Feb. 7 hearing in Adams County.

The city’s investigation, for which the law firm of Wilson Williams LLP was hired as a special prosecutor, is limited to looking at whether Jordinelli’s alleged statement to police broke any ethical standards or municipal laws. The city is paying the firm $250 an hour for its work.

The decision by city council last week to appoint the firm to look into the matter was unanimous. Jordinelli was absent for the vote. Brighton officials declined to disclose the identity of the councilman under investigation at the time of the city council vote.

The police report states that Jordinelli, 64, arrived for the meeting “disheveled” in shorts and a polo shirt and “was walking with an unsteady gait.” Several officers described a strong smell of alcohol on his breath and video surveillance later obtained by police showed that Jordinelli had driven to city hall right before the meeting and parked his Buick “at an angle occupying two parking spaces.”

After being escorted downstairs by a fellow councilman from a hallway outside council chambers, Jordinelli was walked to his nearby home by two city staff members, the report said.

When police contacted him at home to ask him about his car being at city hall, they described Jordinelli as having “red watery eyes,” “slurred speech” and being “unsteady on his feet.” In the report, police said Jordinelli opened his garage door in an apparent effort to show officers that his car was at home. The garage was empty.

Jordinelli, according to the report, then asked the officers if they knew who he was. After informing the officers that he was a city councilman, he said “You don’t want to mess with me.”

Jordinelli on Monday said the case “arises out of my suffering a serious medical event prior to a meeting and one of my political opponents trying to use that event now, several months after it occurred, to try to oust me from office.”

“I am sad to see how low others have gone to try and get rid of me just because we may not agree on political issues,” he said in an email. “I look forward to being vindicated of this baseless charge in court.”

He did not identify who his political opponents are.

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Infotainment retuned for ’22 Infiniti QX80 resurgence

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Infotainment retuned for ’22 Infiniti QX80 resurgence

A refined infotainment system and center stack are standard on the 2022 Infiniti QX80 and should serve as major assists toward a more well-rounded competitiveness in the full-size luxury SUV field for the Japanese product.

Power and plushness are a given for the QX80 and have been for some years. Up-front interior tech, though, with dual screens lagging in wireless compatibility fared poorly in comparative assessments.

For 2022, a new 12.3-inch touchscreen offers navigation, lane guidance, Infiniti InTouch Services, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto links, Intelligent Cruise Control and Bose premium sound system with 17 speakers.

The upgraded QX80 is available in three trim levels – Luxe, Premium Select and Sensory – as it goes against Lexus LX, Mercedes GLS and G-Class, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Range Rover, BMW X7 and Audi Q7.

Interestingly, while I was driving the QX80 last week came an announcement from Yokohama, Japan, of the promotion by Infiniti of Wendy Orthman to general manager of global integrated brand, marketing and communications, a newly created position merging the responsibilities of chief marketing and chief communications officer. She was global head of communications for the brand.

Orthman previously served positions with Nissan and, earlier, as Midwest PR manager with Chrysler. While with Chrysler, Denver was a frequent stop for her, including bringing famed Dodge designer Ralph Gilles here in 2008 to show off a redesigned Ram with storage in its box’s side panels.

The new version of the QX80 continues to draw notice for its size – it’s big, 6 ½ feet tall and square-bodied with 5,815-pound curb weight, riding on Bridgestone Dueler P275/50R22 tires.

Performance comes smoothly from a 400-horsepower, 413 lb.-ft. torque, 5.6-liter V-8 engine with 7-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. A dial in the center console engages switching from Auto to 4Hi and 4Lo, with a separate button for snow mode, which lessens torque on takeoff. The shifter can be moved into manual mode and tapped for upshifts or downshifts.

The Infiniti is impressive in its maneuverability, belying its oversize. Its EPA fuel estimate continues relatively low, 13 to 19 miles per gallon. I averaged 16.4 mpg.

Inside, the front seating, with quilted inserts, is finished in saddle brown. The second-row buckets, with an abundance of legroom, will flip-fold forward for opening a path to the 3rd row, where footspace is very tight. By folding the far-back seats into the floor, cargo space grows from 16.6 cubic feet to a roomy 49.6. Twin 8-inch screens highlight a rear-seat entertainment system.

For $87,985, the Infiniti’s high-end Sensory trim level includes power moonroof, power-folding and heated outside mirrors, power rear liftgate, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, power reclining third-row seats and safety advancements forward emergency braking, blind-spot intervention, lane-departure prevention and around-view monitor with moving-object detection.

The Infiniti brand was introduced in the United States in 1989 as Nissan’s luxury offering to compete with Toyota and Honda premium units Lexus and Acura, respectively. The QX80 is built in Kyushu, Japan.

Contact Bud Wells at
[email protected]

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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Homicide investigation underway after man stabbed to death in Westminster home Monday

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100-year-old Longmont man assaulted along Main Street has died

Jefferson County authorities are investigating a homicide after a man was found stabbed to death early Monday inside a Westminster home.

Sheriff’s deputies responded at 4 a.m. to the 10400 block of Ammons Street to reports of a break-in, and upon arrival found the unidentified man dead, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

A witness who lives at the house told police that “the male had forced entry into the home and was stabbed by another female resident during a physical altercation between the male and the witness,” authorities said in the release.

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