BOSTON (AP) - Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker is teaming up with former state representative Karyn Polito to form a Republican ticket for the state's top office in next year's election.

Polito said Tuesday that she is re-entering politics as a candidate for lieutenant governor. She made the announcement at a diner in her home town of Shrewsbury surrounded by friends and supporters.

Polito was also joined by Baker, who is the only declared candidate for governor on the GOP side. Baker attended the news conference and threw his support behind Polito.

Baker said he was proud to have Polito join his campaign "to create jobs, improve our schools and create safer, stronger communities."

"Karyn and I both know that under the right leadership, Massachusetts state government can become as thrifty, creative and hardworking as the people who call the commonwealth home," Baker said.

Polito said she was excited to team up with Baker.

"As a mother, small business owner and public servant, I know firsthand the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for our state and with Charlie's leadership, we can make Massachusetts great," Polito said.

No other Republicans have announced their candidacy for lieutenant governor.

It's not the first time both candidates have sought higher office.

In 2010 Baker ran against incumbent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and lost. Polito ran for state treasurer during the same election and lost to Democrat Steven Grossman, who has announced a run for governor.

Governors and lieutenant governors run separately in their respective party primaries in Massachusetts, but Republican candidates in recent years have typically identified their preferred running mates earlier in the process.

In 2010, Baker tapped former Wakefield state Sen. Richard Tisei, who is eyeing a challenge to incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney next year.

Polito brings both assets and potential pitfalls to Baker's campaign. As a woman, she balances the ticket. She is also seen as more conservative than Baker, which could help him appeal to the party stalwarts. That more conservative stance could also give opponents an opening to criticize the pair as out of touch.

Baker, the former head of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, has already said he plans to run a more upbeat campaign this time around that highlights the "sunny" side of his personality.

Democrats, however, wasted little time trying to portray Polito as too far to the right for Massachusetts voters and a representative of the tea party.

"In spite of what he's saying, he is the same Charlie Baker who ran in 2010," state Democratic Party Chair Tom McGee said in a statement Tuesday. "Charlie is crisscrossing the Commonwealth trying to reshape his image but privately he is trying to appease the tea party wing of the Republican Party."

There are five Democrats running for governor including include former federal and state homeland security official Juliette Kayyem, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, Newton pediatrician Don Berwick, former Wellesley Selectman Joseph Avellone and Grossman.

Two Democrats are running lieutenant governor - Steve Kerrigan, a former Lancaster selectman and chief of staff to former Attorney General Thomas Reilly, and Mike Lake, president and CEO of Leading Cities, a network of businesses, municipal governments and universities.