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Readers: Should Massachusetts embrace a less moderate GOP?

The nomination of Trump-backed Geoff Diehl suggests a move further to the right.

The Massachusetts State House. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Massachusetts voters chose Geoff Diehl as the Republican nominee for governor earlier this month, marking another potential shift in the direction of the state’s Republican party.

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Diehl, who describes himself as a “libertarian Republican,” is backed not only by the MassGOP but also, notably, by former President Donald Trump. Over the course of his campaign, he has supported false claims that the 2020 election was rigged (“in a certain way“) against Trump, and has had the former president campaign for him at a tele-rally. 

When asked to share the questions and issues that mattered most to them ahead of election day, several Boston.com readers expressed concern about Diehl’s politics, particularly his endorsement from the former president.

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“Why is he junking the successful formula that worked to elect moderates Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Charlie Baker?” Lisa E. from Easthampton asked. “Donald Trump is massively unpopular here, losing by over 30 percentage points in 2016 and 2020. Boasting of his endorsement seems more like political suicide than anything else, especially now.”

Other readers saw his embrace of the former president as a reason to vote for him in the election. 

“As long as [Diehl] doesn’t become a RINO, I will take Trump’s advice and go with him,” Joanne D. from Boston shared. 

On the day of the primaries, we asked readers in an informal poll who they would vote for in the Republican primary for governor, and the majority of our readers who responded, or 64%, said they would be voting for Republican businessman Chris Doughty over Diehl. 

Before Diehl had won the nomination, Democratic nominee for governor Maura Healey said in a speech that a new Republican governor would “bring Trumpism to Massachusetts.”

“I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the anger, the vitriol, the division. That’s not who we are,” said Healey, who is currently polling well ahead of Diehl. “That’s not what Massachusetts is all about.”

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Diehl’s primary win suggests that Republican voters in the Bay State are ready to push the party further to the right. As for party leaders, Diehl easily received their official endorsement at the MassGOP convention in May, winning more than 70 percent of the convention’s delegates.

In neighboring New Hampshire, meanwhile, two hard-right Trump supporters, Don Bolduc and Karoline Leavitt, won local elections there in the last month, against the endorsement of the state’s Republican leaders. 

Given the more moderate leanings of Massachusetts’ electorate, our reporters asked Diehl how he felt his candidacy would land with voters in a general election. Diehl told Boston.com that his challenge is talking to voters about how he believes the current administration in Washington is hurting Massachusetts residents.

“I’m going to be challenged with things I think that are happening with our current administration that aren’t helping economically the people of Massachusetts,” he said. 

Are you among the Boston.com readers concerned about the direction of the MassGOP, or are you eager to see Trump-backed Diehl win his bid for governor? We want to know how you feel about the potential rise of Trumpism in local Republican politics. 

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Share your thoughts with us by filling out the survey below or emailing us at [email protected] and we may feature your response in a future article.

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