Gov. Charlie Baker officially endorsed Republican Kevin O'Connor for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, siding with the GOP challenger to incumbent Democrat Ed Markey.

Baker, in a 38-second self-recorded cellphone video, urged voters to go to the polls and support O'Connor, who lives in Dover and is a first-time candidate.

"Kevin is a business guy, a lawyer, someone who's lived and raised a family his whole life here in Massachusetts, and he will bring that feet-on-the-ground, boots-on-the-ground perspective to the job of U.S. senator on Capitol Hill," Baker said.

On Twitter, O'Connor said he was honored with by the Baker endorsement and vowed to "bring his same brand of common sense government to Washington."

Baker has made several targeted endorsements this cycle, backing U.S. Rep. Richard Neal in his Democratic primary contest against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, and supporting Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

After the Collins endorsement Baker said, "I think it's likely that the LG and I will try to do some things between now and election day to help some of the folks who are running for the state Legislature, but I think that's sort of going to be the extent of our political activity."

In the video for O'Connor, Baker said the Republican took "many chances" running for U.S. Senate this year in the midst of a pandemic. Earlier this spring, O'Connor successfully sued to reduce the signature threshold to qualify for the ballot because of COVID-19. "And he stuck with it and stayed with it all the way and demonstrated how desperately he wants to be your representative, your senator in Washington," Baker said.

Though he is now backing two Republicans for U.S. Senate in a year when the Democrats are fighting to regain control of that branch of Congress, Baker has said he won't support President Donald Trump and might not vote at all for president.

- Matt Murphy/SHNS

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