Republican Charlie Baker faces competition within his party from a Shrewsbury small business owner.
While his candidacy has flown outside the radar to date, Mark Fisher, a 55-year-old who identifies himself with the Tea Party and has never sought public office, announced his candidacy for governor Nov. 25. Fisher owns a metal manufacturing business, Merchant’s Fabrication, located in Auburn.
Reached by phone, Fisher declined to be interviewed by the News Service. A campaign aide later said he would not do any interviews before a kickoff event Dec. 16 in Auburn.
In a press release announcing his candidacy, Fisher said he hoped for a “spirited primary” against Baker, who has veered toward the center since his 2010 loss for governor although he swerved to the right this week with his pick of Karyn Polito, also of Shrewsbury, as his running mate.
On his campaign website, Fisher said he hoped to remove all Massachusetts Turnpike tolls if elected, and the opposition to tolls is the only topic on the issues page on his website, which also features a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick opposing his planned $9 million office suite renovation and calling on the governor to resign.
A licensed engineer, Fisher touted his private sector experience, including employment at Old Colony Envelope Company, a Virginia nuclear power plant, and five years with Raytheon, as qualifiers for his candidacy. Fisher acknowledged he has been unemployed several times during the past 20 years and his site states he “recalls his children made more money from a lemonade stand than he did during a nine month period of unemployment.”
According to the site, he received his final layoff notice in 2008, and on the same day he lost his job he found a manufacturing business for sale and later purchased it, which he still runs today. He financed the business with liens on his house, his mother’s home, and a home equity line of credit. Within four years, he paid off the loan, according to campaign biography.
Fisher listed $45,000 in campaign finance receipts on Wednesday, funds the candidate loaned to his committee; Baker reported a campaign balance of more than $236,000 Thursday, after raising nearly $194,000 in November.
Married for 21 years, Fisher and his wife Margaret have two children. A 1976 Westfield High School graduate, he also graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a master's degree in manufacturing engineering and an MBA.