If you follow Massachusetts politics, you know that Republican Governor Charlie Baker is a popular guy, even among Democrats — so much so that both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and House Speaker Bob DeLeo have hinted they just might vote for Baker when he seeks re-election next year.

Which raises an obvious question for Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie, and Setti Warren, the three Democrats who’ve announced that they’re seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination: How do you run against an incumbent who seems, at times, to be almost untouchable?

The answer, judging from the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s annual convention in Worcester, is that going after Baker might not be as difficult as you’d think — and that there are a few different ways to do it.

Start with Warren, the first member of the Democratic gubernatorial trio to speak at Worcester’s DCU center Saturday. Right off the bat, Warren threw a sneaky jab, thanking the activist who’d just introduced him and then adding, “We don’t need $30 million like Charlie Baker thinks he needs, with thousands of volunteers like you to move the Commonwealth forward.” In that one sentence, Warren sent two complimentary messages: Baker’s operation is fueled by cash, while his is driven (allegedly) by the genuine grassroots enthusiasm every candidate loves to claim.

Soon after, Warren offered a different critique, accusing Baker of a dearth of political vision. “The rallying cry and biggest goal of our current governor,” Warren said, “seems to be, ‘We just need to get to next year.’” Yet Warren leavened those attacks by saying that Democrats, too, need to re-assess their priorities and methods. At one point, he urged Democrats to wrestle more earnestly with “moral questions,” adding, “Yes, I’m challenging Charlie Baker … but I’m also here to challenge my own party.”

Gonzalez’s attacks on Baker were more numerous and more aggressive. Like Warren, he mocked Baker’s political vision, saying, “I’ve been frustrated by how little Governor Baker has accomplished, but I’ve been more frustrated by how little he has even tried.” But Gonzalez, unlike Warren, drew a direct link between Baker's alleged passivity and Donald Trump’s presidency. (“As Donald Trump attacks immigrants, and our healthcare, and our environment, and our democracy, Charlie Baker’s been sitting on the sidelines.") Whether that characterization is fair is debatable — but at a minimum, it could make voters who’ve cheered Baker’s pushback toward the Trump Administration question whether he’s really been doing enough.

And Gonzalez didn’t stop there. He asserted that Baker’s vaunted managerial skills haven’t been as good as advertised. And he claimed that Baker has to be coached into doing the right thing, if and when he actually does it — adding that Massachusetts deserves a governor who does the right think instinctively.

Like the speakers who preceded him, Massie went after Baker’s political vision, or lack thereof. But he gave that attack a bit of a twist, casting Baker’s presence in the corner office as an impediment that keeps Massachusetts from realizing its full potential as a commonwealth. This may like a dry argument, but by turning it into a call-and-response exercise — and folding it into what was probably the most enthusiastically received speech of the three discussed here — Massie made it pop. A sample:

MASSIE: Charlie Baker is unwilling or unable to lead us. We can move into a bold progressive future — but not with Charlie Baker. That’s the phrase I want to use with you: not with Charlie Baker. So: do you want to build a gleaming and modern network of trains linking north and south, east and west, giving new life to small business and connecting communities with homes and communities with jobs? Do you want that?

CROWD: Yeah!

MASSIE: Are we going to get it?

CROWD AND MASSIE TOGETHER: Not with Charlie Baker!

And so it went, with the crowd and Massie telling each other enthusiastically that free public college, new solar and wind farms, more affordable housing, and increased economic justice are all possible — but not if the governor keeps his job.

There is, of course, a risk for the Democratic candidates in ripping Baker too often, or with too much zeal. Talk about him nonstop, and voters might conclude that the Democrat in question doesn’t have a positive vision of their own. Go too hard, and some attacks might sound hyperbolic, or miss the mark in a way that’s slightly embarrassing. (When Gonzalez reminisced about serving in Deval Patrick’s administration, and added, “Remember what it was like to have a governor with backbone?,” he was rewarded with a polite golf clap, nothing more.)

Yet the greater risk, for any Democrat who wants to see Baker unseated, is that people will look at the governor's poll numbers and bipartisan bromances and conclude that he’s untouchable. In their own distinct ways, Warren, Massie and Gonzalez showed in Worcester that that's not the case. 

Correction: This story originally identified Gonzalez's line as, “Wasn’t it great to have a governor with backbone?" The quotation has been corrected above.