Charlie Baker has been the presumptive Republican nominee for governor for months — but he still had to win a primary race against Tea Party candidate Mark Fisher. Baker handled Fisher easily Tuesday night, and previewed the message he'll use against Democrat Martha Coakley.

"Tonight—the campaign for a better Massachusetts begins!" Baker said to cheers in his primary victory speech.

The question wasn’t whether Charlie Baker would beat Mark Fisher in the Republican gubernatorial primary — it was by how much. In the end, Baker tripled Fisher’s total vote. After offering Fisher some perfunctory praise in his victory speech, Baker turned his attention to the November election. After eight years of Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, Baker said, Massachusetts is adrift — and only he and running mate Karyn Polito can change that.

"The voters are going to have a clear choice this November," he said. "A choice between charting a new direction or more of the same. We want to bring a new and independent brand of bipartisan leadership that will bring balance to state government and opportunity to all of our citizens."

The outcome of Baker’s race against Coakley could hinge on his ability to attract female voters — a group Baker lost when he ran against Patrick in 2010. Mary Burns, a member of the group Women For Charlie told me this time will be different.

"I think women are focused on households, focused on their children, and I think that Charlie Baker being a leader, not only in business but his former role in government, is what women are going to look for," Burns said. "I mean, we need to change direction in this state, and Charlie Baker is the candidate who can do that."

The Democrats are also likely to link Baker to the national GOP. But his support of gay marriage and abortion rights could make that difficult — and state GOP chair Kirsten Hughes insists the strategy is a nonstarter.

"He is about, again, those fiscal issues; making sure state government works for you," Hughes said. "You cannot tie him to the National Republican Party because he’s just not about that. He’s about caring about what happens here in Massachusetts, about making this state work here.

In his speech, Baker predicted a slew of negative attacks — but urged his supporters to ignore them. As he put it, the Democrats will go negative because they have no positive ideas to run on.