The Massachusetts Republican Party will convene in Springfield this weekend for the 2022 Massachusetts Republican Nominating Convention. Adam Reilly, GBH political reporter and host of Talking Politics, will be there and joined GBH Morning Edition Host Paris Alston today to preview the activities. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Paris Alston: A lot has been going on with the state GOP in the past couple of years. First off, Governor Baker has declined the invitation to the convention and so has Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. Why is that, and how significant is that?

Adam Reilly: Well, the question of motives can be tricky to parse, but I think it's incredibly significant because for the past few years, the party has been split between two really different visions of what the Mass. GOP should be. You have Baker on the one hand, who has called out former President Trump, made a point of working with Democrats on Beacon Hill, at least when he's able to, talks a lot about how there's effective bipartisan collaboration in Massachusetts, that it could be a lesson for the rest of the country.

And then on the other hand, you have a lot of Republicans, including the state party chair, Jim Lyons, who see that as the wrong way to go, who want to go all in on former President Trump and Trumpism and who want the party to be uncompromisingly conservative in a way that they don't think Baker has been. So I think a case could be made that the fact that Baker is staying away points to — I don't want to say the complete triumph of the second vision, there are some questions about that, which we'll get into in a moment — but I think it's, among other things, a sign that that vision for what the mass GOP should be is ascendant.

Alston: And there is a gubernatorial candidate, Geoff Diehl, who is aligning himself pretty closely with that Trump ideology. Without Baker in the mix, how is the Republican race for governor shaping up?

Reilly: For Geoff Diehl, although his presentation is not very Trumpy at all, he's a very affable guy, good retail campaigner, good at making people more moderate than him feel a sense of commonality — but he was an early endorser of President Trump and has continued to speak favorably about the former president over the years. His competitor is Chris Doughty, a businessman from Wrentham who has cast himself as the heir to Baker's approach to politics. Although at the same time, he's been trying not to alienate the more Trump-centric Republicans whose support he'll need to get on the ballot. So he's walking, or trying to walk, a very tricky line there.

The big question heading into the convention for me is whether Chris Doughty is even going to get on the ballot. You need to get support from 15% of delegates to make the primary ballot in September. Pretty much everyone expects Geoff Diehl to get the party's endorsement to win a majority of delegates. But Chris Doughty may or may not even make it through the convention. His campaign has been indicating in the last couple of days that he thinks it's going to be really close. They may be trying to game expectations a little bit, so if he gets 25%, he can talk about what an exciting victory it is. But I think that there is probably some legit anxiety there about whether he's going to make it because again, he's casting himself as Baker's heir. And Baker is on the outs for a lot of Republicans right now. There was polling before Baker said he wasn't going to seek a third term that showed Geoff Diehl leading him by a pretty substantial margin in a hypothetical matchup. It would have been, I think, tougher [for] Baker to make it through this primary process.

Alston: And what are some other things you're keeping your eye on besides the gubernatorial race?

Reilly: I'm really interested to see the Republican candidates who are there, there are other people in races like secretary of state and state auditor. It's going to be interesting to see how they talk about a couple things. First off, how they talk about this likely reversal by the Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade. This iteration of the Mass. GOP is very, very strongly anti-abortion. That's an issue that could hurt them with voters in the general election this fall. But right now, they're not talking to general election voters. They're talking to the party base. So the way they talk about that likely ruling and what it means for the future is going to be interesting to watch.

Also, I think the way they talk about former President Trump and the 2020 election, I'll be watching to see, for example, if people say that the election was stolen from the former president, which it was not, but the former president has repeatedly said it was. That again is an issue where in the general that wouldn't play well with the general electorate, with many people — President Trump lost badly in 2016 in Massachusetts and even worse in 2020. But I don't know if the party faithful are going to want to hold back.

"The big question heading into the convention for me is whether Chris Doughty is even going to get on the ballot."
-Adam Reilly, 'Talking Politics' host

Alston: With the absence of Governor Baker, which is arguably the party's biggest name, who are we going to hear from this weekend?

Reilly: Their featured speakers are Byron Donalds, he's a congressman from Florida. He lives in and represents Naples and the area around it. Tom Homan is a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a Fox News contributor. And also the anti-abortion activist David B. Wright. They are the three marquee speakers for the Mass GOP in Springfield, in addition to the party's candidates.

Alston: So, Adam, things are going to get really steamy around here this weekend. I mean, we're looking at temperatures in the mid-nineties. Can we expect some political heat at the convention with all this stuff going on?

Reilly: Paris, I see what you did there. Very artful. That is an open question. And another thing I'm going to be interested to watch — I don't know how vocal or forceful the people who still like Governor Baker's vision for what the GOP should be. I don't know how outspoken they're going to be. You could imagine, on the one hand, sharp debate breaking out, one speaker says that that we should recognize Baker from what he's done. And then another speaker goes on to pan Baker's record. Or it's possible that people who might think Baker's approach is the right way to go just choose to sort of tamp down their own rhetoric because they feel like the party's left them behind and they need to catch up to it. So possible storminess or heat or whatever heat-related term we want. But it's not necessarily going to be acrimonious. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.