In Massachusetts, Republican governor’s departure sets stage for high-stakes primaries

Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has a longstanding habit of electing Republican governors – Deval Patrick, who served two terms, is the only Democrat to hold the corner office on Beacon Hill since Michael Dukakis left it in 1991. Was – and Baker, even in this era of sharply partisan divisions, is regularly voted as one of the country’s most popular state leaders.
His departure in the face of intraparty opposition to criticism of former President Donald Trump and the prospect of a primary challenge paved the way for former state Representative Geoff Diehl to claim front-runner status for the GOP nomination. Diehl is Trump’s choice in the primary along with businessman Chris Doughty, who, despite his praise from the former president, has argued that his political brand is toxic in the Bay State and that a statewide candidate like Diehl would be doomed to lose in the general election.
In his endorsement of Diehl last year, Trump mostly railed against Baker — who had not yet announced he would not run again — by denoting the governor as “Rino” or Republican in Name Only, saying Were that his climate policy ideas were “fresh from the AOC playbook,” a reference to progressive New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“Geoff Diehl, on the other hand, is a true patriot, a believer in low energy costs and our independent energy policy,” Trump said.

But Diehl, if he wins the nomination on Tuesday, will be a heavy underdog for the expected Democratic nominee, state Attorney General Maura Healy, who — after months of weighing his options — opened less than two months later. Jumped in the race for the seat. Baker bowed.
Healy’s announcement in late January cleared the field of previously announced Democratic candidates. His fundraising skills and national stature, intensified during Trump’s presidency, when he frequently challenged his administration in court, made him a household name among Commonwealth Democrats who believed he ousted Baker. Represented the party’s best chance to do so.
Aside from the top of the Democratic ticket, the party’s congressional delegation has settled in after a recent cycle of turmoil. None of the nine members of the all-Democratic US House delegation from Massachusetts are facing a primary challenge this year.

So, most of the intrigue on Tuesday will come from a pair of primaries that may not have been close to — or even contested, in one case — Baker seeking a third term.

On the Republican side, Diehl is embroiled in an increasingly controversial contest with Doughty, who he has argued represents the GOP’s best chance to defeat Healy in November. (Diehl has the support of the State Party, but Doughty secured enough delegates to cast the ballot at his May convention.)

Doughty — who has said he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Trump in 2020 — received a late boost from influential conservative radio host Howie Carr, who echoed the candidate’s election logic, Diehl. supported on,

Meanwhile, his associate candidates for lieutenant governor Diehl and Leah Allen held a tele-rally with Trump on Monday evening.

The Boston Globe editorial board, though far from an influential voice with Republican primary voters, asked them (and eligible independents) to elect Doughty and initiate a “party reset.”

“The process will take years, but voters can start it by electing Doughty, a quiet voice for more pragmatic conservatism, over Diehl, a devoted retainer of former President Donald Trump,” the board wrote.

Trump is in the spotlight again, and it may cost Republicans in November
Diehl refused a televised debate with Doughty (they debated Carr’s radio show in July), so last week in Boston the WBZ held a “virtual debate” — conducting separate interviews, back-to-back. -back, then editing parts of their .

“He is too extreme for our state, he pursues conspiracy theories, he has beliefs that are not consistent with the state of Massachusetts,” Doughty said of Diehl. “That doesn’t make him electable.”

Diehl insisted on being asked about it, focusing on the primary and spring GOP convention.

“So far he’s got a record of 0 and 1,” Diehl said. “At the convention, I think I beat him 71%-29%. So that claim, of course, is going to come from any challenger.”

The most competitive high-profile Democratic primary Tuesday is for the nomination to succeed Haley as state attorney general, pitting former Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell — the first black woman to serve in the job and , if she became the AG, against labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan—the first black woman to be elected statewide. (NAACP Boston branch president Tanisha Sullivan, a black woman challenging Secretary of State William Galvin in the Democratic primary, is also on a history-making spree.)

Healy, who had been backing Campbell, stumped for him on the first day of the race. US Representative Ayanna Pressley is also backing Campbell and spoke at a rally with signs for all three women behind her.

“We need a courageous, fierce, visionary, inclusive leader like Andrea Campbell,” Pressley said. “People deserve it. The moment demands it. And that’s what the job requires.”

Voters were thrown curveballs of late when a third candidate, attorney Quentin Palfrey, dropped out last week and endorsed Campbell, joining Haley, Pressley and US Sen. Ed Markey in a race that divided leading state progressives. has done. (Palfrey was an active candidate when early voting began, and his name remains on the ballot.)

Liss-Riordan is supported by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former Boston Mayor Kim Janney – all three of whom feature prominently in her closing ad.

“Shannon Liss-Riordan progressive champions Massachusetts as our next attorney general,” Warren announced late last month. “I know firsthand how Shannon fights back and wins against corporations and special interests that take advantage of working families.”

The winner will face Republican attorney James McMahon, the 2018 nominee who lost to Haley, who is running unopposed on Tuesday.

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