What to watch in Massachusetts’ primary election

Sep 4, 2022, 9:10 PM | Updated: 9:18 pm
FILE - Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl speaks to reporters outside the Statehouse, i...

FILE - Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl speaks to reporters outside the Statehouse, in Boston, March 21, 2022. Diehl, who has former President Donald Trump's endorsement, is going up against businessman Chris Doughty, a political newcomer, in the Republican primary for governor on Tuesday, Sept. 6. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Republicans hoping to hold on to the Massachusetts governor’s office 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 top-of-the-ticket contest between a conservative candidate endorsed by Trump and a more centrist opponent. In recent primaries in Maryland and Connecticut, GOP voters have opted for the Trump loyalists, potentially worsening their chances of winning a general election.

The winner of Tuesday’s Massachusetts primary will take on Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey in November. If elected, she would be the state’s first openly gay governor and the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts. Republican Jane Swift served as acting governor after Gov. Paul Cellucci stepped down in 2001 to become U.S. ambassador to Canada.

The governor’s office is open this year because popular GOP Gov. Charlie Baker opted against running for a third term.

What to watch:

Former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who has Trump’s endorsement, is going up against businessman Chris Doughty, a political newcomer, in the Republican primary for governor.

Diehl, who launched a failed campaign for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018, is popular among Republican activists. He won the party’s endorsement with 71% of delegates at the state party convention in May, but he could face a tougher climb in a general election in a state in which Trump won only 32% of votes in 2020.

Diehl has opposed COVID-19 mandates, falsely claimed the 2020 presidential race was rigged, fought against the extension of mail-in voting and said he supports the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Trump — a critic of Baker, who publicly refused to vote for Trump in 2016 and 2020 — endorsed Diehl last October, saying in a statement that he is “strong on Crime, Election Integrity, our now under siege Southern Border, loves our Military, and has a big focus on taking care of our Vets.”

Doughty described himself as moderate when he entered the race but has since embraced the label of conservative as he tries to appeal to Republican primary voters. Doughty has said his experience running a manufacturing company gives him the know-how to be a successful chief executive.

He has said he wants to make Massachusetts more affordable for residents and businesses. He has described himself as “pro-life,” but acknowledges the state’s highest court has recognized a right to abortion and said he doesn’t have an interest in changing that.

Baker hasn’t endorsed either candidate.

Healey, who’s won two statewide races for attorney general, is running virtually unopposed, with her sole rival dropping out of the race in June, though she remains on the ballot. Healey is hoping to break a political “curse” in Massachusetts, referring to a string of unsuccessful campaigns by attorneys general for governor.

Despite being considered a Democratic stronghold, Massachusetts has a history of electing Republican governors as a check on a Legislature in which Democrats hold overwhelming majorities. Those Republican governors, including Mitt Romney, have typically been fiscally conservative but more socially moderate.

Baker said in December that he opted not to seek reelection so he could focus on helping the state emerge from the pandemic. He credited his administration’s focus on issues over personality as a big reason for his success with voters, which he said stands “apart from a lot of the bipartisan noise that’s created in politics generally these days.”

The election also features several statewide contested Democratic primaries, including for attorney general and secretary of the commonwealth.

Two Democrats are jockeying for the top law enforcement office: former Boston city councilor 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, a trial 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’s won the endorsement of several high-profile elected officials, including Healey, Sen. Edward Markey and half the state’s congressional delegation.

Liss-Riordan has the backing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey.

In the race for secretary of the commonwealth, Democratic incumbent William Galvin is hoping to win an eighth term in office. He’s fielding a primary 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 serve in the post 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 state’s nine incumbent Democratic U.S. House members is facing primary challengers. There are two contested Republican primaries, in the 8th and 9th congressional districts.

The Massachusetts primary lands on the day after Labor Day, raising concerns about a potentially low turnout, although early voting began on Aug. 27.

A new state law makes “no excuse” mail-in ballots and early voting permanent fixtures 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 ballot access for voters with disabilities, service members overseas and incarcerated individuals.

___

Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Moose back on the loose after rescuers free it from fence

BARKHAMSTED, Conn. (AP) — A moose is back on the loose in Connecticut after some quick-acting rescuers helped to free it from a fence. The Connecticut State Environmental Police received a call at around midnight about a moose stuck in Barkhamsted, northwest of Hartford. Local fire department personnel and state police responded early Saturday to […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Migrant-death suspect ran detention center accused of abuse

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — One of two Texas brothers who authorities say opened fire on a group of migrants getting water near the U.S.-Mexico border, killing one and injuring another, was warden at a detention facility with a history of abuse allegations. The shooting happened Tuesday in rural Hudspeth County about 90 miles (145 kilometers) […]
15 hours ago
FILE - People visit a makeshift memorial honoring the victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in...
Associated Press

Vegas survivors signal hope even as mass shootings persist

LAS VEGAS (AP) — It’s been five years since carnage and death sent his family running into the night, leaving them separated and terrified as a gunman rained bullets into an outdoor country music festival crowd on the Las Vegas Strip. The memories don’t fade, they sharpen, William “Bill” Henning said as he prepared for […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Man shot several times at California youth football game

ONTARIO, Calif. (AP) — A man was shot several times on the field at a youth football game Saturday morning in Southern California, police said. Ontario police said the man was targeted and shot multiple times by suspects who fled. No one else was injured at the game at Colony High School, and there was […]
15 hours ago
In this image from video broadcast by RTB state television, coup spokesman Capt. Kiswendsida Farouk...
Associated Press

Protesters attack French Embassy in Burkina Faso after coup

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Angry protesters attacked the French Embassy in Burkina Faso’s capital Saturday after supporters of the West African nation’s new coup leader accused France of harboring the ousted interim president, a charge French authorities vehemently denied. A group of soldiers appearing on state television late Friday had announced that Lt. Col. […]
15 hours ago
From left, A.J. McCullough of Sunset Beach, NC, mother of bride Monroe McCullough, an unidentified ...
Associated Press

Despite Ian’s punch, wedding day saved on wet Pawleys Island

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Saturday turned out to be a sparklingly beautiful fall day in Pawleys Island, an idyllic wedding venue sandwiched between the Atlantic oceanfront and expansive marshland that typify South Carolina’s coastal beauty. For two visiting families, the perfect wedding almost got derailed by Hurricane Ian’s landfall and aftermath. Mary Lord and […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
What to watch in Massachusetts’ primary election