What to watch in the Massachusetts primary elections
BOSTON (AP) — Republicans hoping to retain the governorship of Massachusetts are choosing between a Donald Trump-backed candidate and a more moderate businessman in Tuesday’s primary election.
Massachusetts is just the latest blue state to feature a high-end contest between a Trump-backed conservative candidate and a more centrist opponent. In the recent Maryland and Connecticut primariesGOP voters opted for Trump loyalists, potentially worsening their chances of winning a general election.
The winner of Tuesday’s Massachusetts primary will face Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey in November. If elected, she would be the state’s first openly gay governor and Massachusetts’ first elected female governor. Republican Jane Swift served as interim governor after Governor Paul Cellucci left in 2001 to become US ambassador to Canada.
The governor’s office is open this year because popular GOP Governor Charlie Baker chose not to run for a third term..
What to watch:
Former State Representative Geoff Diehlwho has Trump’s approval, takes on businessman Chris Doughtya political newcomer, in the Republican primary for governor.
Diehl, who launched a failed campaign for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018, is popular among Republican activists. He won party approval with 71% of delegates to the state party convention in May, but he could face a tougher climb in a general election in a state in which Trump only won. than 32% of the votes in 2020.
Diehl has opposed COVID-19 mandates, falsely claimed the 2020 presidential race is rigged, fought against expanding mail-in voting and said he supports the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe against Wade.
Trump – a Baker critic, who publicly refused to vote for Trump in 2016 and 2020 – endorsed Diehl last October, saying in a statement that he is “tough on crime, election integrity, our southern border now under siege, loves our military, and emphasizes caring for our vets.
Doughty described himself as a moderate when he entered the race, but has since adopted the conservative label as he tries to please Republican primary voters. Doughty said his experience leading a manufacturing company gives him the know-how to be a successful CEO.
He said he wants to make Massachusetts more affordable for residents and businesses. He has described himself as “pro-life” but acknowledges that the state’s highest court has recognized the right to abortion and said he has no interest in changing that.
Baker did not endorse either candidate.
Healey, who has won two statewide races for attorney general, is running virtually unopposed, with her only rival dropping out of the race in June, though she remains on the ballot. Healey hopes to break a political “curse” in Massachusetts, referring to a series of unsuccessful campaigns by attorneys general for governor.
Although considered a Democratic stronghold, Massachusetts has a history of electing Republican governors to control a legislature in which Democrats hold an overwhelming majority. These Republican governors, including Mitt Romney, have generally been fiscally conservative but socially more moderate.
Baker said in December that he chose not to seek re-election so he could focus on helping the state emerge from the pandemic. He credited his administration’s focus on personality issues as one of the main reasons for his success with voters, which he said stands out “from a lot of the bipartisan noise that is being created in politics in general these days.
The election also includes several contested Democratic primaries across the state, including for Attorney General and Commonwealth Secretary.
Two Democrats are vying for the top police job: former Boston City Councilwoman Andrea Campbell and workers’ rights attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan. A week before the election, a former assistant attorney general, Quentin Palfrey, announced he was suspending his campaign and endorsed Campbell.
The winner will face Republican Jay McMahon, an attorney who previously ran against Healey and lost, in November.
If elected, Campbell would be the first black woman to hold the office in Massachusetts. She won the endorsement of several high-level elected officials, including Healey, Sen. Edward Markey, and half of the state’s congressional delegation.
Liss-Riordan has the support of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey.
In the race for Commonwealth Secretary, incumbent Democrat William Galvin is hoping to win an eighth term. He takes on a main challenge from fellow Democrat Tanisha Sullivan, a lawyer and president of the Boston branch of the NAACP. Sullivan would be the first black person to hold that position in the state.
There are also contested races in the Democratic primary for auditor and for the Democratic and Republican races for lieutenant governor.
None of the nine incumbent members of the United States Democratic House face major opponents. There are two contested Republican primaries, in the 8th and 9th congressional districts.
The Massachusetts primary lands the day after Labor Day, raising concerns about a potentially low turnout, although early voting began Aug. 27.
A new state law makes “no excuse” mail-in ballots and early ballots permanent in Massachusetts elections. Many of the voting options included in the new law were implemented during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and proved popular.
The law also increases voting access for voters with disabilities, overseas military personnel and incarcerated people.
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