What would the Massachusetts Republican Party do without women?

For the third time in recent history, a Republican running for governor will have a woman as his running mate.

This time, the woman is former five-term state Rep. Karyn Polito, 47, of Shrewsbury, an attorney, businesswoman and mother of two, who will run for the office on a ticket headed by Charlie Baker.

Baker was defeated for governor by Democrat incumbent Deval Patrick in 2010. Patrick is not running for re-election in 2014.

Prior to this campaign, the late Republican Gov. Paul Cellucci was elected governor in 1998 with Jane Swift as his running mate, and Mitt Romney was elected governor in 2002 with Kerry Healey as his lieutenant governor.

Four years ago, Polito ran a spirited race for state treasurer, but was outspent and beaten by Democrat Steve Grossman, who is now running for governor. Despite that defeat, Polito, an able campaigner, got more votes for treasurer than Baker did for governor.

The fusion of the two candidates into an early team means the GOP will go into the March 2014 political nominating convention, as well as the September primary, as a unified ticket. A unified ticket not only clears the GOP field but is a major asset in fundraising.

It gives the two Republicans the opportunity not only to get to know one another better, but to campaign as a unified team. While the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor will be campaigning against one another at the convention and in the primary, Baker and Polito will be able to present a calm and unified front.

The GOP practice of putting together gender-balanced tickets ordinarily would blow up the phony Democrat charge that the Republicans, at least in Massachusetts, have launched a "war on women," but it probably won't. Liberals and young people have been so brainwashed on the issue that the big lie has become one of their untrue truths.

In contrast to the GOP, the Democrats have five candidates running for governor, which guarantees a lively convention as well as a contested primary.

While falling behind Grossman in fundraising, Attorney General Martha Coakley is still considered to be the leading candidate for the Democrat nomination. Also running for governor are Juliette Kayyem, a former national-security adviser to President Barack Obama, Joe Avellone, a health-care executive, and Donald Berwick, a former Medicare/Medicaid adviser to Obama.

While Massachusetts has not yet elected a woman as governor, both parties have nominated women for the job. In 2002, then-state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien was the Democratic nominee for governor. She was defeated by Romney. Four years later, Healey was the GOP gubernatorial nominee. Healey was beaten by Patrick, who became the first black elected governor in Massachusetts.

There is no sign that any of the Democrats running for governor will select a running mate before the nominating convention in February. But it is possible that if Coakley is the party nominee -- and if she wanted to really shake things up -- she could choose someone like Kayyem as a running mate.

Why not?

That would give Massachusetts its first all-female ticket for the state's two top constitutional offices -- governor and lieutenant governor. It would be a big deal. It would be an even bigger deal if they won. And, if elected, they could not possibly screw things up as badly as the men have.

Gender, family and children are going to play a big role in the upcoming campaign, if the Baker/Polito announcement is any indication of things to come.

Already Baker and Polito have indicated that they are going to run a sort of "mom-and-pop" political campaign that will be big on family values and children, especially if Coakley is their opponent. Coakley has no children. Kayyem has three, as does Grossman.

Polito, who described herself as a "mom," business owner and community leader, said she and Baker make a strong team. "We know what we want for our children, and we want that for every family and every child across our commonwealth."

Baker, at their joint-announcement press conference last week, said: "Karen is a mom first, above all else, just like I'm a dad. And that's where our politics come from."

Don't look now, but it appears that the Republicans have morphed into the Mamas & the Papas -- Massachusetts Dreamin' style.

Peter Lucas' political column appears Tuesday and Friday. Email him at luke1825@aol.com.