Republican primary voters opted for Trump-backed candidate Geoff Diehl as their choice for governor of Massachusetts on Tuesday, kicking off a nine-week uphill battle against the Democratic ticket of Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll, the latter of whom emerged Tuesday from a three-way primary to be the party’s lieutenant governor nominee.
Healey, a Boston Democrat who has been the state’s attorney general for the last eight years, cleared the gubernatorial field after she entered the race in January and has been able to largely waltz to the doorway of the governor’s suite since Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz ended her Democratic primary campaign in June.
The corner office is up for grabs by virtue of two-term Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov Karyn Polito’s joint decision announced last December to not seek a third term for their popular Republican administration. Polito’s decision not to seek the governor’s office herself left no heir apparent to assume Baker’s mantle on the Republican side.
Had Baker run, he certainly would have faced headwinds from the growing chunk of the Mass. Republican Party that is aligned with former President Donald Trump. The party’s primary voters on Tuesday showed that they’re on board with the shift by nominating Diehl, a former state representative from Whitman who has emphasized his endorsement from Trump.
The Associated Press called the GOP primary for Diehl at 10 p.m. when he had about 56 percent of the votes counted to 44 percent for Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty, whose campaign focused on affordability issues and mostly eschewed federal political issues. Diehl said Tuesday night that his campaign will be the first to focus “specifically on we the people — our freedoms, our rights and our prosperity.”
“Maura Healey as governor would lead our state in the wrong direction, down a path of higher taxes and radical legislation. We don’t want that, right? Under her leadership, Massachusetts would be more expensive, more excessive and more restrictive,” he said. “So when it comes to your rights, your freedoms, your wallet, your businesses, your kids’ education, I declare Maura Healey to be the people’s worst nightmare and I’m here to stop her from ever bringing her radical policies to the governor’s office.”
Trump told Diehl supporters during a Monday “tele-rally” that the former state rep from Whitman was “the only conservative running for Massachusetts governor.” While Massachusetts voters have repeatedly shown a tendency to support moderate Republican governors as a check on the Democrats who hold other offices, Diehl’s candidacy in many ways represents the state party’s pivot in favor of an embrace of the embattled former president.
“Geoff is a proven fighter who successfully pushes back on the ultra-liberal extremists and who’s driven them a little bit wild because they can’t figure him out and he’ll rule your state with an iron fist and he’ll do what has to be done,” Trump said Monday.
Diehl’s “Blueprint for the Bay State” pledges to enact the tax reform proposals made by Baker, suspend the state gas tax whenever the pump price is above $3 per gallon, create a statewide “jobs boss” who would focus on attracting new companies to Massachusetts and growing existing companies, increase mental health care capacity, repeal MBTA zoning regulations, increase the presence of police officers in schools, and create a new state agency to monitor schools for the promotion of a political agenda. He also has vowed to rehire state workers who were fired for refusing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
While Democrats had a couple of high-stakes and bruising statewide primaries this year, the gubernatorial ticket was the only real question to be decided Tuesday by statewide GOP voters and independents. But the GOP primary for lieutenant governor was too close to call a bit after 11:15 p.m. with Diehl’s preferred running mate Leah Allen, a former state representative from Danvers, leading former state Rep. Kate Campanale of Spencer 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent.
Once Healey’s place as the Democratic nominee for governor was cemented Tuesday night, she told supporters at a Dorchester union hall wedged between the Red Line and the Southeast Expressway that she’ll cut taxes, and fix roads, bridges and the MBTA. She also touted her bipartisan working relationship with Baker, whom she said “has led with respect and worked with both parties,” and cast herself as a politician in his mold.
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“Unfortunately, Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty will put us on a different path. They’ll bring Trumpism to Massachusetts, and they both already said they’ll support Donald Trump in 2024. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the anger, the vitriol, the division. That’s not who we are. That’s not what Massachusetts is all about,” Healey said before her Republican opponent became clear. “I want a different path. My path is one of optimism; working together with urgency and intention to get things done.”
Healey has said that her gubernatorial administration would put new leadership in charge of the MBTA, create a new child tax credit worth $600 per child for more than 700,000 families, set a target of net-zero emissions from state operations by 2030 and fully electrify public transportation by 2040, tackle “local zoning barriers” to build more housing, end state and local law enforcement involvement in federal immigration matters, and take a fresh look at the role of standardized testing in K-12 education.
Driscoll, the mayor of Salem since 2006, got into the lieutenant governor’s race in January promising a “new focus from Beacon Hill” on the needs of cities and towns. She bested two members of the Legislature in the primary, defeating both Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow and Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton.
Driscoll previously worked as chief legal counsel and deputy city manager in Chelsea and served on the Salem City Council. As mayor of Salem, Driscoll has enjoyed a close working relationship with the Baker administration and in July 2018 declined to support Democrat Jay Gonzalez’s challenge of Baker. She describes herself as a proud member of “the get-stuff-done wing of government.”
Though polling of potential general election match-ups has been scarce, Healey is clearly the favorite as the general election gets started. A June poll had Healey beating Diehl by 31 points and a July survey showed Healey leading Diehl by 31 points.
“I hope @maura_healey is sending a thank you note and flowers to Geoff Diehl & Jim Lyons for handing her the MA Governors office. Bye bye Democracy…hello single-party rule!” former MassGOP chair Jennifer Nassour tweeted Tuesday night.
Former Boston City Council president Andrea Campbell emerged Tuesday night as the victor from what had been a contentious primary of Democrats vying to replace Healey as attorney general. The Associated Press called the race for Campbell at about 9:45 p.m., when she had about 47 percent of the vote to opponent Shannon Liss-Riordan’s 36.5 percent.
The primary for attorney general divided Democrats more than any other race this year. Healey backed Campbell to take her place and spent the crucial days leading up to Tuesday’s primary campaigning with Campbell. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (against whom Liss-Riordan briefly ran in 2019), U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and four former AGs also sided with Campbell.
Liss-Riordan, a labor attorney from Brookline known primarily for the high-profile lawsuits she has brought against major corporations on behalf of workers, got the backing of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey among a bevy of major union endorsements.
Campbell, a former deputy legal counsel under Gov. Deval Patrick, ran for mayor of Boston in 2021 but turned her sights to the attorney general’s office hoping to make the position what she called “an advocate for fundamental change and progress.” She will face Republican Jay McMahon, who had no opposition in his party’s primary Tuesday, in November’s contest to succeed Healey as the state’s top law enforcement official.
A Bourne attorney who has a background in law enforcement and has pledged to end the “wokeness” of the attorney general’s office, McMahon was the GOP’s nominee for attorney general in 2018 and he took about 805,000 votes to Healey’s 1,874,000.
Secretary of state
For the second election cycle in a row, incumbent Secretary of State William Galvin easily dispatched a Democratic primary challenge. The Associated Press called the primary in his favor about an hour after polls closed Tuesday.
Tanisha Sullivan, an attorney and life sciences executive who serves as president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, had focused her campaign on her view that the secretary of state’s office “must be more proactive and engaged in really addressing the issues that matter most to the residents of Massachusetts today,” like abortion rights.
“Together, we helped voters understand this office and showed what is possible with proactive leadership in this office, and our work continues,” Sullivan said Tuesday night.
Galvin is seeking his eighth, and potentially final, four-year term as the secretary of state, and pitched himself to voters as a reliable and effective elections administrator who now holds a senior position among elections officials nationally.
The Brighton Democrat was elected to eight terms in the Massachusetts House beginning in 1975 and could surpass former Secretary Frederic Cook’s record 28-year tenure in the secretary’s office if he wins in November.
Rayla Campbell is Galvin’s November opponent. A Whitman Republican whose campaign has largely revolved around government mandates and the sexualization of children, Campbell had no challenger Tuesday as she locked up the Republican Party’s nomination.
Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen was the only sitting legislator to win their statewide primary race this election cycle. She bested Chris Dempsey of Brookline, a Patrick administration transportation official and one-time Bain & Company consultant who helped lead the grassroots movement to prevent the Olympics from coming to Boston in 2024.
The AP had not called the race as of about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, but Republican candidate Anthony Amore had already begun to contrast himself with DiZoglio, whom he congratulated for winning the Democratic primary.
DiZoglio, a second-term senator who served three terms in the House before winning election to the Senate in 2018, has long been a vocal advocate for restricting the use of non-disclosure agreements on Beacon Hill and has clashed with Democratic leadership about how much time lawmakers receive to review legislation.
The Republican nominee for auditor, Amore is the head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and was the party’s 2018 nominee for secretary of state. Amore, of Winchester, is a rare candidate to have the official endorsement of the outgoing Gov. Baker and he has pitched himself as a Republican check on the Democratic Party’s supermajorities in both branches of the Legislature and potentially among constitutional offices.
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg of Brookline appears on track to cruise to a third term in office. She drew no challenger from within the Democratic Party and the Republicans didn’t officially nominate any candidate for the position this cycle.
Assuming she is reelected in November, Goldberg would become the longest-serving state treasurer since Robert Crane, who served more than a quarter-century in the post from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s.
Goldberg passed up a race for an open Congressional seat in 2020 because she said there was more that she wanted to accomplish as treasurer. Her reelection announcement cited the work her office has done to help families create college savings accounts for new children and to pressure corporations as an investor through the state pension fund to become cleaner energy consumers.
Goldberg was the runner-up in the 2006 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, losing to Tim Murray. She beat Republicans Michael Heffernan and Keiko Orrall, respectively, in her previous general election contests for treasurer in 2014 and 2018.