Richard Tisei, Openly Gay Republican, Picked for GOP Ticket in Mass. Gov.'s Race

A Republican political hopeful interested in serving as governor of Massachusetts announced Monday he has chosen Richard R. Tisei, an openly gay state legislator, to be his running mate in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

"Want you to be the first to know: I've chosen State Senator Richard Tisei as my running mate," Republican Charles Baker wrote on his Twitter account. "Excited about this team."

In the photo at left, Baker stands to the left of Tisei outside the civic center in Wakefield, Mass.

Baker is the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and a former adviser to two Republican governors. He has known Tisei for years, the Boston Globe reports, and Tisei's years in the state legislature will make up for Baker's limited political experience.

Tisei, who the Globe called an "only-in-Massachusetts character," publicly disclosed his sexuality to the newspaper last week, though it was widely known.

"It is not exactly a news flash," he said. "I don't think people really care these days."

Tisei played a key role in retaining marriage equality in Massachusetts. In 1986 he told the Globe, "I broke people's preconceived notions about what a Republican is... We have to go on breaking the stereotypes."

Baker will still have to face off against convenience store owner Christy Mihos in a Republican primary, but by naming a running mate, both Baker and Tisei can fundraise for the campaign, according to the Globe. The winner of the primary is expected to face off against state Treasurer Timothy Cahill (who is running as an independent) and incumbent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.