Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com
Massachusetts voters will weigh in on several open statewide races this year, first in the Sept. 6 primary election, and then again at the ballot box on Nov. 8.
Bookmark this page for regular updates on several statewide elections, as well as the race for Suffolk County District Attorney.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, a candidate for attorney general, is among the lawyers bringing a lawsuit against a Georgia school district alleging a pattern of overt racism and bigotry after several Black students were suspended for attempting to protest Confederate flag displays at their high school.
“While administrators failed to act when white students at Coosa High School reenacted George Floyd’s murder on school property, hurled racial slurs and waved the Confederate flag, Black students were disciplined by those same administrators for attempting to peacefully display the Black Lives Matter message,” Liss-Riordan said in a statement. “While the actions of racists that led to this lawsuit are disgusting, I am proud to represent the students and families who are bravely standing up to the white supremacy they see just about every day. These students deserve the protection of the Court and I am confident our lawsuit will prevail.”
According to the Associated Press, the students behind the lawsuit are accusing school officials of allowing a pattern of racism, including “overt bigotry and animosity by some white students and teachers against African American students.”
One student carried what appeared to be a whip and told a Black classmate “we used to whip you,” the AP reports.
Students are barred from wearing Black Lives Matter shirts but apparel displaying the Confederate flag is allowed under school policy, the lawsuit states.
“The racism on display at Coosa High School isn’t just happening there, but across the country,” Liss-Riordan said. “The rights enshrined in the Constitution do not protect themselves. I hope that people in all corners of the U.S. look to the incredible example that the young plaintiffs in this case are setting, and step up and confront civil rights abuses.”
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, the assistant speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has endorsed Maura Healey’s bid to become the next governor of Massachusetts.
Clark is the first of the state’s delegation of federal lawmakers to weigh in on the gubernatorial Democratic primary.
The 5th District congresswoman, on Twitter, wrote how the two first met during their time working in the Attorney General’s Office, before either became an elected official.
“Looking back now at Maura’s brilliant leadership of the Civil Rights Division, I can see that the groundwork was being laid for this moment,” Clark wrote on Friday. “Today, I’m proud to endorse her for Governor.”
“The stakes are high, and we can’t take anything for granted,” Clark continued. “At this critical moment, when legal abortion access, voting rights, and so many of our freedoms are hanging in the balance and families are struggling with high costs, we need a Governor who is on our side.”
After a tour of the Fall River Pier Thursday, Democratic candidate for governor Maura Healey announced the endorsement of several Fall River leaders.
Those officials included Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan and State Representatives Carol Fiola, Pat Haddad, Paul Schmid, and Alan Silvia.
“The Fall River Pier is a clear example of how we can invest in our Gateway Cities to spur equitable economic growth,” Healey said in a news release.
“In what was once inaccessible space to the public, we now see the makings of a thriving waterfront neighborhood. That didn’t happen overnight – thanks to the advocacy of Fall River officials and investments in transportation and greenspace, economic development is coming to Fall River.”
While speaking in Fall River, Healey’s campaign said, she emphasized the need for investments in public transportation and neighborhood revitalization in gateway cities to spur equitable economic growth.
Healey has promised that if elected governor, she will prioritize expanded public transportation, including West-East Rail and Regional Transit Authorities.
“Maura has stood up for Fall River as attorney general by investing in our opioid recovery services, protecting our workers, and advocating for economic development all along the South Coast,” Coogan said in the release.
Her climate agenda also called for a $200 million increase in investments in port infrastructure, a rapid expansion of the offshore wind industry, and support for community greenspaces, particularly in gateway cities such as Fall River.
“Communities along the South Coast have different needs than Boston, and Maura understands the kinds of support and resources our region needs in terms of public transportation, economic development, housing, arts, and culture,” Fiola said in the release.
In the race for Massachusetts attorney general, on Thursday, Democrat Shannon Liss-Riordan accused fellow Democrat and front-runner in the race Andrea Campbell of “flip-flopping” on the issue of allowing safe consumption sites in Massachusetts, State House News Service (SHNS) reported.
Liss-Riordan referenced questionnaires from last year and this year from Progressive Massachusetts that were answered by Campbell, who was a Boston city councilor at the time, SHNS reported.
In last year’s survey, Campbell answered: “Yes. While we’re still exploring the benefits and risks of safe consumption sites and whether they’d be feasible in Boston, I support harm reduction programs,” SHNS reported.
This year, Campbell simply answered “no.”
“How are voters going to be able to compare candidates’ positions on critical issues like safe consumption sites…when Andrea Campbell’s position seems to depend on the day and on the audience,” Liss-Riordan campaign manager Jordan Meehan said in a statement to SHNS.
A Campbell campaign spokesperson told SHNS that Campbell answered no because she has concerns about how safe injection sites will be implemented, including cost and location, and has been talking about the issue with residents and stakeholders.
“As the people’s lawyer, the next AG should let those voices inform the work and Andrea is the only candidate who seems to be prioritizing that,” her campaign said in a statement to the News Service.
New data shows that Democrats currently have the advantage in four hypothetical gubernatorial matchups, according to State House News Service. In a new poll conducted by Emerson College, 848 registered voters were surveyed between May 2 and May 4. These voters were asked how they feel about matchups between the top two candidates on either side. The candidates in question were Attorney General Maura Healey and Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, both Democrats, and former Rep. Geoff Diehl and businessman Chris Doughty, both Republicans.
Currently, Healey and Diehl lead their respective primaries in the polls. When asked to choose between the two, 59 percent said they would pick Healey and 31 percent said they would back Diehl, according to SHNS. When the poll pitted Healey against Doughty, she maintained a lead of 54 percent to his 31 percent. Voters also said they were more likely to support Chang-Diaz over either Republican, but with lower levels of support than Healey. In a race between Chang-Diaz and Diehl, about 46 percent of voters polled backed the Democrat and 32 percent backed the Republican, while Chang-Díaz led Doughty nearly 41 percent to 33 percent, according to SHNS.
On Sunday, Gov. Charlie Baker gave a measured response when asked by WCVB host Janet Wu how much hope he holds for the Republican Party.
“Let’s see what happens between now and November,” Baker said. “There’s a lot of elections that are going to be held between now and November. Let’s see what happens.”
Baker, the state’s top Republican, has historically been popular among independents and Democrats, according to SHNS. He has decided not to seek reelection for a third term, not because of the rise of Former President Trump and his allies like Diehl, but for personal reasons.
“This was 100 percent a family decision,” Baker told WCVB.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Monday fired back at criticism that her chosen Suffolk County district attorney candidate Ricardo Arroyo, the city councilor she endorsed over the weekend, lacks the experience needed to be the county’s top prosecutor.
Wu was asked about why she opted to weigh in on the race during an appearance on WBUR’s “Radio Boston.”
“I have worked with Councilor Arroyo in many different settings, public and private, on legislation, organizing on programing, and advocating for organizations that do this work,” Wu said.
On Saturday, after Wu’s endorsement, Adam Webster, a spokesperson for interim District Attorney Kevin Hayden, suggested in a statement that Arroyo, a former public defender, is underqualified for the position.
“If Mayor Wu believes a novice attorney with zero public safety experience should be the top law enforcement officer in the county, that’s her choice,” Webster said. “We’re confident voters will disagree.”
On Monday, Wu said the criticism sounds similar to pushback other candidates have faced when challenging “the status quo” in Boston.
“I think many of the comments that we’re hearing now are similar to those that we’ve heard for a long time, when in Massachusetts and in Boston, we’re trying to present a vision of change that can build community,” Wu said. “And in this case, you know, [Arroyo’s] platform of really reducing crime while healing and providing the resources to build community is exactly what we need.”
“The same statements of someone not being old enough or experienced enough, sometimes I think that is code and signal for upholding the status quo,” she added.
Pressed to elaborate, Wu said, “This is a status quo that hasn’t been working for everyone.”
“We want to see the types of reforms that former District Attorney [Rachael] Rollins had put into effect, which have been documented through research and data to bring about outcomes … [that] reduce crime and heal communities and stabilize and reduce recidivism,” the mayor said. “And so, that is the approach … that we want to see keep going.”
Arroyo was elected city councilor for District 5 in 2019, and has also gained support from other progressive lawmakers, including senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.
City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo has scooped up an endorsement from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in his bid to become Suffolk County’s next district attorney.
On Saturday, Wu, a former council colleague of Arroyo’s, praised the sitting councilor for his stewardship of the body’s Government Operations Committee and his tenure as a former public defender.
But interim District Attorney Kevin Hayden’s campaign quickly made clear it feels differently about Arroyo’s resume.
“If Mayor Wu believes a novice attorney with zero public safety experience should be the top law enforcement officer in the county, that’s her choice,” Adam Webster, a campaign spokesman said in a statement. “We’re confident voters will disagree.”
Hayden, a Democrat, was appointed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker after Rachael Rollins resigned to serve as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.
Republican gubernatorial hopefuls Chris Doughty and Geoff Diehl on Tuesday responded to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting justices may soon overturn the court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, with the former stating he would not seek changes to the state’s abortion laws if elected, and the latter stating he will not make policy decisions based off the draft.
In Massachusetts, state lawmakers codified abortion access into law in 2020 and the Supreme Judicial Court has determined abortion is protected under the state constitution.
Should the Supreme Court reverse its decision in Roe, abortion access would remain unchanged in the Bay State.
“The right to abortion is enshrined in the Massachusetts constitution,” Doughty told Boston.com in a statement on Tuesday. “I am running to focus on making our state more affordable for our citizens and our job creators. As Governor I will not seek any changes to our state’s abortion laws.”
Whether Diehl would seek to challenge state law as governor if Roe was overturned was unclear on Tuesday, however.
In a joint statement with his running mate, former state Rep. Leah Allen, Diehl said he does not “form core policy decisions based on leaked first drafts of Supreme Court opinions.
“Rather we form them based on deeply-held personal beliefs and a commitment to Constitutional Rule of law,” the statement continued. “Thus, today, we join together as we have throughout our campaigns in our respect for the dignity of human life and our belief that decisions on non-federal issues are best left to the states.”
The statement also said Diehl and Allen “believe in and reaffirm the need to protect human life wherever and whenever possible.” The pair reiterated their support of Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the ROE Act ultimately passed by the state Legislature to codify abortion access.
Baker, a Republican, has said he supports reproductive rights, but vetoed the law based on his objections to lowering the age of consent for teenagers seeking abortions and the expansion of “the availability of later-term abortions.”
Diehl and Allen, in their statement, said they recognized the “extreme bill as a radical move too far by state legislators.”
“We have both been consistent in these positions throughout our campaigns and our time in public office, and we remain solid in our beliefs now,” the statement said. “To the extent there is credibility to current reports sourced to the Supreme Court, we will await the Court’s formal decision later this spring and assess it at that time.”
Quentin Palfrey, a former assistant attorney general, is calling on his fellow attorney general-hopeful Andrea Campbell to close a super PAC that contributed to Campbell’s bid in last year’s Boston mayoral race.
In a statement Monday, Palfrey said Campbell, a former city councilor, “should shut down her superPAC because Massachusetts voters deserve a campaign for AG that is not polluted by outside corporate advertising.”
Palfrey, last week, signed a “People’s Pledge” to vow to keep special interest money out of the attorney general election, and extended a challenge to Campbell and attorney Shannon LIss-Riordan to do so as well.
Liss-Riordan ultimately did sign the pledge, but Campbell has not.
The Better Boston Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee raised about $1.6 million during last year’s mayoral contest. A news release from Palfrey’s campaign highlighted select “corporate donors, including senior leaders from Bain Capital, charter school backers such as the Walton family, developers, and for-profit health care companies such as Steward Health.”
Notably, super PACs do not and cannot coordinate their actions with candidates, which means Campbell does not possess the authority to close-up Better Boston, although she can call on the PAC to do so itself.
Palfrey wants Campbell to at least vow not to take money from the PAC “or other outside groups,” his campaign said.
Palfrey took aim at Campbell over special interest money during a candidates forum last week. Corporate cash “flooded into our elections” both last year and in 2016, when Massachusetts voters had to consider a ballot question on expanding charter schools, he said.
“The AG’s role is not to be pushing for the expansion of charter schools,” Campbell said at the forum. “It’s to hold these education systems accountable and to push these systems to do better so that Black and brown kids actually have access to a high-quality education, which is currently not the case in this state.”
Campbell’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on Palfrey’s latest call on Monday.
But the Campbell campaign, in a press release also published Monday, touted a fundraising haul of $190,257 in April.
The release also added that Campbell “continues to lead the pack in grassroots fundraising” through bringing in more than $750,000 in the last three months, with more than 94 percent of that total having come from in-state residents.
“I am so thankful to every grassroots donor who has chipped in to fund our people-powered campaign,” Campbell said in a statement. “I believe in bottom-up government. That means getting out and working hard to connect directly with Massachusetts residents, and I look forward to continuing my Gateway Cities Tour to hear how we can use the AG’s office to push for justice in every community.”
The three Democratic candidates for attorney general went head-to-head as they debated matters including a possible “People’s Pledge” and stances on charter schools at a forum at Boston College Law School’s Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy on Thursday.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, who previously ran for U.S. Senate, played up her experiences as a workers’ rights attorney and discussed how she took on corporations including Starbucks and FedEx, the Boston Globe reported.
“I have been acting as a private attorney general for my entire career, more than 20 years,” Liss-Riordan said. “The work that I have done has put hundreds of millions of dollars back in the pockets of regular people.”
Andrea Campbell, a former Boston city councilor who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year, said the work was “personal,” citing the death of her twin brother Andre as an example of a case she would take on. Campbell’s brother was 29 when he died in the custody of the Department of Correction as a pretrial detainee 10 years ago.
“I see the AG’s office as the unique office to have done something about that particular case,” she said. “My family still doesn’t know under what conditions or what circumstances he passed.”
Quentin Palfrey, a former assistant attorney general who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018, talked about his experience as the chief of the health care division as the state moved for health care reform.
Speaking about filing lawsuits against predatory healthcare companies, he said, “We took those cases, tried to help those consumers. I’ve seen firsthand how much impact the AG can have on people’s lives.”
Palfrey has proposed a “People’s Pledge” among the candidates, saying, “The biggest threat to our democracy is corporate money in our elections.”
Though Liss-Riordan has agreed to forgo campaign donations from special interest political action committees, Campbell has not.
Palfrey, in a remark aimed at Campbell, said corporate money “flooded into our elections” in the 2021 mayor’s election and the 2016 election, during which there was a ballot question related to the expansion of charter schools.
Campbell, who received millions of dollars and advertisements from an independent PAC led by charter school backers during her mayoral campaign, said that like Palfrey and Liss-Riordan, she has and continues to support the existing cap on charter schools.
“The AG’s role is not to be pushing for the expansion of charter schools,” Campbell said. “It’s to hold these education systems accountable and to push these systems to do better so that Black and brown kids actually have access to a high-quality education, which is currently not the case in this state.”
After the forum, Liss-Riordan called Campbell out, pointing to her candidate questionnaire for Progressive Mass, on which she answered “NO” in all caps when asked if she supported the existing cap on charter schools.
Campbell responded that she misspoke during the forum, but emphasized that her stance on charter schools has not changed, saying, “I continue to stand with every family, including our Black and brown families, to ensure their kids have access to high quality education, without demonizing the choice they ultimately may make.”
Kimberly Atkins Stohr of The Boston Globe’s editorial page moderated the forum.
Republican candidate Jay McMahon was not able to attend the event because of another commitment.
Sonia Chang-Díaz sharpened her scrutiny of Maura Healey at a gubernatorial forum on Wednesday night, targeting the fellow Democrat on her record surrounding the environment, education, and other issues.
Chang-Díaz, a state senator, sought to paint Healey as out of step with the progressive causes and equity focus that both candidates say are the beating heart of their bids to be the state’s next chief executive, according to The Boston Globe.
In particular, halfway through the forum hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts and WBUR, Chang-Díaz took aim at Healey on environmental justice, saying there were “many moments that people of color needed you to be there to center racial equity when you did not.”
The Jamaica Plain lawmaker rattled off a list from Healey’s record, such as when Healey argued against a ban on no-knock warrants and on police use of facial recognition technology, the Globe reports.
Chang-Díaz also said Healey, the attorney general, should have been a stronger proponent of a law that reformed the Legislature’s school funding formula, which reconfigured more resources to schools in low-income areas.
“I respect the hell out of your work on the national level,” Chang-Díaz said to Healey, who built a reputation of challenging the Trump administration over 200 times during the former president’s term. “But standing up for racial equity at every turn means more than doing it when it’s against Donald Trump or against ExxonMobil. The next governor is going to need to have the courage to do that when it’s against members of our own party.”
Healey said Chang-Díaz remarks were “mischaraterizations,” and pointed to other, local work she’s done as attorney general, such as going against Boston’s plans to chop down trees in Roxbury and assisting families who are being evicted, according to the newspaper.
Healey said helping “marginalized” people has been the center of her work.
“That has been my life’s work in the attorney general’s office and will remain my commitment as governor,” she said.
Wednesday’s forum also revealed differences in how each candidate will fund their climate and environmental agendas.
Chang-Díaz supports a form of carbon tax.
“It is going to take money. We cannot hide the ball on that,” she said.
Healey, however, said she is “not committing to that right now.”
Instead, Healey, whose plans include dedicating at least 1 percent of the state budget to environmental policies, said she also wants to revisit the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the failed regional effort to help curb carbon emissions.
“We’re going to need that regional collaboration,” Healey said.
Quentin Palfrey is calling on his opponents in the attorney general primaries to sign a “People’s Pledge” – a vow to keep special interest money out of the races.
“The Attorney General’s Office is not for sale,” Palfrey, a U.S. Dept. of Commerce attorney, said in a statement on Wednesday. “The people’s lawyer needs to be truly independent. That’s why I am calling on the 2022 AG candidates from both parties to join with me to commit to a campaign free of special interest money.”
Palfrey, who has also signed a pledge to reject cash from the fossil fuel industry, said the pledge he’s asking fellow candidates to sign would discourage special interest PACs from running support and attack ads.
Palfrey said he is asking fellow Democrats Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan and lone Republican candidate Jay McMahon to sign on so the attorney general race is “a clean election.”
“That means rejecting special interest funded spending,” Palfrey said. “That means no outside spending by developers, fossil fuel companies, charter-school backers, for-profit healthcare companies, or pharmaceutical companies. There are a huge number of undecided voters in this race, and those voters deserve an opportunity to decide who should be the next Attorney General based on who has the most relevant experience for the job and the best vision for the future of Massachusetts, not on whose super PAC spends the most money on advertising.”
Palfrey, a former assistant attorney general, has consistently been behind his two opponents in polls. The latest voter survey, released by UMass Lowell last week, found Palfrey has garnered only 6 percent of voter support, behind 11 percent for Liss-Riordan, and 30 percent for Campbell. Two percent of respondents said they would support another candidate in the primary, and 52 percent of those polled said they are undecided.
The SEIU Massachusetts State Council, one of the state’s largest umbrella unions, endorsed Maura Healey’s campaign for governor, The Boston Globe reported.
The umbrella union is the latest in a string of unions that have chosen to support the attorney general over her opponent in the democratic gubernatorial primary, Boston State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz.
The SEIU Massachusetts State Council represents 115,000 workers, the Globe reported, including hospital and nursing home workers, social workers within the Department of Children and Families, janitors, and more.
The SEIU State Council’s unanimous support is unusual, the Globe reported. This is the first time in 20 years that all six of its unions have been united in supporting one candidate, the newspaper wrote.
The Globe reported that Healey has a long-standing positive relationship with Massachusetts labor unions given that as attorney general, she has been tasked with enforcing labor and worker protection laws during her nearly eight-year tenure.
“Maura Healey’s commitment to fight for issues like affordable healthcare, housing, and child care is not only aligned with our members’ values — it’s what we need to advance racial and economic justice here in Massachusetts,” Peter MacKinnon, president of the SEIU Massachusetts State Council and SEIU Local 509, said in a statement to the Globe.
Andrea Campbell, candidate for attorney general, and Tanisha Sullivan, who is running for secretary of state, have picked up some notable endorsements.
Campbell, a former Boston city councilor, gained the support of former Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Tuesday during a campaign stop in Fall River.
“From affordable housing to education equity, Andrea Campbell has spent her career on the frontlines of the most pressing issues facing communities like Fall River and all of our Gateway Cities,” Kennedy said in a statement. “As a lawyer and elected official, she leads, advocates, policy-makes and governs from the perspective of someone who knows that injustice is bred in the places that government overlooks and ignores.”
Sullivan, who is currently president of the NAACP’s Boston branch, on Tuesday earned the backing of Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne.
“I’ve known Tanisha for years, and have seen firsthand her courage and commitment as an attorney, an advocate, and a civil rights champion,” Siddiqui said in a statement. “Tanisha embodies the kind of leadership we need in the Secretary of State’s office, and I know she’ll work tirelessly to build a stronger, more inclusive democracy that will benefit all Cambridge residents.”
Ballantyne, in her own statement, said: “As an immigrant, my own lived experience provides a window into the challenges many of our friends and neighbors face when it comes to fully engaging in our democracy. I believe we all deserve a Secretary of State who works proactively to expand opportunity and create new pathways to participation for every person in our communities, and I’m proud to endorse Tanisha’s campaign.”
Apparently, Sydney Levin-Epstein has a friend…in Carole King.
The legendary and celebrated singer-songwriter is slated to perform at a virtual fundraiser for Levin-Epstein, a Democrat facing off against state Rep. Jake Oliveira for state Sen. Eric Lesser’s seat as Lesser tries for lieutenant governor this year, MassLive reports.
“Western Massachusetts has long been overlooked and forgotten by Beacon Hill insiders,” Levin-Epstein told the outlet. “My campaign is focused on uplifting and empowering the people of the 413 to the point where it will be impossible to ignore. This is an event with the iconic Carole King, but also four of some of the most amazing women leaders in Western Massachusetts, proves that point. I am building a diverse coalition to put forward innovative and creative policies to [ensure] that west of [Interstate] 495 is never again treated as Narnia to Boston insiders.”
The May 11 event has a range of ticket prices, from $18 for students to $1,000 for hosts.
Geoff Diehl, the former state representative now seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said Thursday he will agree to take part in two debates ahead of September’s primary election.
Chris Doughty, a Wrentham businessman and the only other declared candidate in the primary, had repeatedly challenged Diehl to debate before the party’s convention next month.
“Diehl needs to clearly explain what advantage he is gaining to run for offices he has zero hope of winning,” Doughty said in a statement on Wednesday. He needs to explain how losing another general election is helpful for our party and our message.”
In a statement on Thursday, Diehl’s campaign said Diehl will agree to the two debates “with any other Republican gubernatorial candidate who secures enough certified signatures and convention votes to appear on the September primary ballot along with him.”
“Diehl’s campaign has consistently said that Diehl would participate in debates as soon as any other challengers paid their required convention fee, submitted more than 10,000 certified signatures, and secured more than 15% of the vote at the convention,” the release reads.
The campaign also said, “Howie Carr and Jeff Kuhner have both agreed to each host one-hour debates on their respective radio shows in July or August, before the state primary election.”
Sonia Chang-Díaz is continuing her push for three debates against her gubernatorial opponent in the Democratic primary, Maura Healey, before the party’s convention in June.
At a candidate forum hosted by Boston Democrats on Tuesday night, Chang-Díaz, a state senator, reiterated her position that voters should be given a chance to see the two candidates square-off one-on-one, according to The Boston Globe.
“As much as I appreciate this conversation here today … I think it’s important to acknowledge that this is not a replacement for a debate,” she said, speaking to Healey. “Candidate to candidate, person to person, debates are the cornerstone of our democracy. Voters deserve to know where we stand on all of these issues.”
According to the newspaper, the forum on Tuesday didn’t exactly allow for candidates to ask one another questions, but Chang-Díaz said her campaign has received offers for debates and asked Healey if she would join.
Healey said she “looks forward to continuing to talk about policy over the next six weeks” and went on to note that “we actually have a debate next week,” in reference to another forum scheduled for April 27. Chang-Díaz first challenged Healey to three televised debates last month. Healey later offered she would commit to two debates after the convention but before the Democratic primary in September.
Maura Healey on Tuesday unveiled her climate agenda, outlining her vision for a 100% clean electricity supply in Massachusetts by 2030 and expansion of off-shore wind and electrified transportation.
“The climate crisis is an existential threat to our state and our residents – but there is also tremendous opportunity in our response,” Healey, the attorney general seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said in a statement. “We need to meet this moment with innovation, aggressiveness, and urgency. I want Massachusetts to be a national and world leader in combating the climate crisis and driving our clean energy economy — and together we will do just that.”
Healey, not long after entering the gubernatorial primary, declared she will be “the most aggressive governor in the country,” if elected this year.
The climate plan is the first major policy proposal Healey has released.
In the plan, Healey calls for the state government to lead by example “by achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 across state operations and rapidly transitioning the state fleet to electric vehicles.”
Healey would also dedicate “at least 1%” of the state budget to its environmental and energy agencies and work to boost funding for the Department of Public Utilities, according to the proposal.
The plan also outlines creating a cabinet-level “Climate Chief” who will helm the push for climate policies and electrifying public transportation so all modes are running on 100% clean power by 2040, beginning with school and MBTA buses by 2030, Healey’s campaign said in a news release.
Healey also wants to “direct American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure Law climate spending to directly benefit overburdened communities for community-based projects like clean energy improvements in public housing, schools or municipal buildings, converting fleets of dirty fuel vehicles to clean electric buses, and community solar,” her campaign said.
Approximately six weeks from the state Democratic Party convention in June, Healey is enjoying a 45-point lead in the latest poll and has significantly more cash on hand than her opponent, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is maintaining a strong lead over her opponent in the gubernatorial Democratic primary, State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz
According to a new UMass Lowell poll, Healey is up 45 points over Chang-Díaz among likely Democratic voters. The lead is Healey’s widest yet, POLITICO reported.
Overall, Healey got 62% of likely Democratic voters, with Chang-Díaz getting just 17%. Another 20% of likely Democratic voters said they were undecided.
“Primary voters want someone they ideologically align with, but they also want to vote for a winner,” UMass Lowell pollster and Center for Public Opinion associate director John Cluverius told POLITICO.
“The more and more Healey looks like a frontrunner, the more and more voters who aren’t perfectly aligned with Healey, but find her acceptable, are willing to vote for her.”
The poll found that Chang-Díaz performs better with younger voters (ages 18 to 44) and non-white voters, where Healey leads 44% to Chang-Díaz’s 28%.
Much of the problem for Chang-Díazs is name recognition. When asking likely Democratic voters about favorability, 42% said they had no opinion of her, and 12% said they’d never heard of her.
Cluverius told POLITICO that Chang-Díaz could benefit from finding “something pivotal to contrast herself with Healey.”
With Healey leaving her post as Massachusetts Attorney General, the race to replace her remains competitive.
Former Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell leads the field with 30%, compared to 11% for Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, 6% for U.S. Dept. of Commerce Attorney Quentin Palfrey, 2% for another candidate, and 52% undecided.
State Rep. Ron Mariano, the speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, is throwing his support behind Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll in the unusually active Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.
“Mayor Driscoll has an impressive record of accomplishment starting in Chelsea and as a transformative mayor in Salem,” Mariano said in a statement, according to Politico. “She is the best kind of leader: inclusive, accountable, and focused on results. She will be a valuable partner for our work in the House and the best advocate for the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.”
Mariano was drawn to Driscoll’s municipal government experience and cited their shared affinity for bringing offshore wind to Massachusetts, the outlet reported.
The speaker also endorsed Attorney General Maura Healey for governor.
As Politico noted, state Rep. Tami Gouveia, a member of Mariano’s own caucus, is also running for lieutenant governor. A progressive lawmaker, Gouveia, however, has voted against House leadership, including voting for term limits and same-day voter registration.
Shannon Liss-Riordan is calling on her fellow Democrats in the attorney general’s race to take part in a debate on climate issues this month.
The Brookline labor attorney wants the three candidates to meet sometime in April to mark “Earth Month,” or in May, before the party’s June convention, Politico first reported Thursday.
“We can all agree on the urgency of this issue,” Liss-Riordan said in a statement to the outlet. “I hope Andrea Campbell and Quentin Palfrey will join me in this important discussion to highlight how we must act as a Commonwealth, country and global community to save our planet.” In a letter to Campbell and Palfrey’s campaigns, Liss-Riordan’s campaign manager wrote the debate is a “no-brainer” given the latest IPCC report from the UN.
Responding to calls from state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz’s gubernatorial campaign, Maura Healey’s campaign said Thursday the attorney general will commit to two televised debates ahead of the Democratic primary election in September, but only after the party’s convention in June.
Both candidates will first participate in two “forums” next month: One hosted by the Boston Ward 4 and 5 Democrats on April 19 and moderated by GBH’s Callie Crossley, and a second sponsored by WBUR and the Environmental League of Massachusetts on April 27.
But Chang-Díaz, who has trailed Healey in early polls, has called on her opponent to meet for three televised debates ahead of the party convention, where delegates will select a candidate to endorse.
Her campaign has said the request is similar to one Healey made of her opponent during her first run for attorney general in 2014, and is in line with the debate schedule during the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Earlier this week, Joshua Wolfsun, Chang-Díaz’s campaign manager, called out Healey’s campaign for “dodging” the requests.
Jason Burrell, Healey’s campaign manager, responded on Thursday in a letter to Wolfsun.
Healey will meet for two debates, Burrell wrote, adding that the April forums are “taking place more than a month before the June convention.”
“Maura has pledged to be the most aggressive Governor in the country on climate, and we look forward to the opportunity to have the candidates together on stage answering detailed questions about these critical issues,” Burrell wrote.
On GBH’s “Boston Public Radio” Thursday morning, Healey was asked to outline what she’s agreed to do.
“I have been out there talking to, listening to voters,” Healey said. “I’ve participated in over 70 caucuses, multiple forums, where people have had a chance to hear from me – (and) hear from all candidates, frankly – and that will continue and I look forward to that. I really do.”
Chang-Díaz, in a statement Thursday afternoon, criticized Healey’s counter offer.
“The arrogance of dodging debates is the kind of attitude that drives voters away from our party and from participation in the political process,” the lawmaker said. “I called for three live, in-person, moderated debates sponsored by media organizations before the convention in June. The Attorney General has agreed to zero.”
Notably, Healey, speaking on GBH, referred to the two April forums as “debates.”
“To be clear, these are opportunities where both candidates are present, have an opportunity to talk to one another, have an opportunity to answer questions, so they’re debates,” Healey said. “Again, what’s been great, as always is great when you’re campaigning, is you have the opportunity to hear from and talk to as many people as possible, and I’ve been working hard across the state to do just that, and will continue to over the coming weeks and months.”
But a news release from the Chang-Díaz campaign stated Healey “portrayed two previously-scheduled forums as a substitute for debates before the June convention.”
“Debating is a time honored tradition and essential to our democratic process,” Chang-Díaz said. “While I have participated in many forums and look forward to joining the ones that the Attorney General cited in her letter, they are not a replacement for debates. Our next Democratic nominee must not run away from the issues or their own promises.”
Maura Healey on Wednesday picked up an endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the national reproductive freedom advocacy group.
“Maura has demonstrated time and again that she will stand up for our fundamental rights,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said in a statement. “With states across the country rushing to ban abortion and Roe v. Wade hanging on by a thread, it is more important than ever that Bay Staters have a governor who will work to safeguard and expand access to abortion care.”
In a press release shared by Healey’s campaign, the group highlighted Healey’s “readiness to stand up for reproductive freedom as governor.”
Last year, Healey was among 24 attorneys general who spoke out against a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi and led opposition to Texas’s six-week abortion ban in October, the group noted. Healey was also the first statewide Massachusetts elected official to back the ROE Act, the state law that codified and expended abortion access in 2020.
“While Healey served as co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, it became the first and only Democratic campaign committee to require candidates to publicly state their support for abortion rights in order to receive endorsements,” the release states.
Healey, in a statement of her own, said “reproductive freedom is under threat like never before.” “With the looming possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this June, it will be on our next governor to continue to protect access to safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts, break down systemic barriers to these services, and expand access to comprehensive reproductive care for all,” Healey said. “That’s what I’ve done as a civil rights attorney throughout my career, and it’s what I will do as governor in partnership with advocates like NARAL.”
NARAL told The Boston Globe Healey’s opponent, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, did not respond to the group’s questionnaire.
But Chang-Díaz said she never received one.
“NARAL never reached out to my campaign & now claims I didn’t return their questionnaire,” Chang-Díaz wrote on Twitter. “It’s deeply troubling for a national reproductive rights org to shut out women of color and then lie about it.
“I’ll be proud to keep fighting for inclusive reproductive justice as Governor,” she added.
Endorsements continue to flow into the attorney general Democratic primary race.
On Wednesday, Andrea Campbell gained a nod from Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano, who said the former Boston city councilor “has dedicated her entire career not only to advocacy, but to action.”
“Andrea brings her lived experience, one that resonates with so many families across Massachusetts, to everything she does,” Mariano, a Quincy Democrat, said in a statement shared by Campbell’s campaign. “I have the utmost confidence in Andrea’s vision for this office, and am proud to endorse her as our next Attorney General.”
Meanwhile, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan scooped up support from the National Association of Government Employees – one of the largest labor unions in the state – on Tuesday.
The Quincy-based union represents 22,000 public employees in the Bay State alone.
“When I’m your AG, public servants will always have a strong partner who will fight for the dignity of work,” Liss-Riordan wrote in a tweet.
Gov. Charlie Baker has made his first endorsement in a statewide race this election cycle, backing fellow Republican Anthony Amore for state auditor.
Amore, the director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, was previously a candidate for secretary of state in 2018.
“As an independent and experienced watchdog, Anthony will be able to keep the checks and balances on Beacon Hill and help preserve and continue the work the Baker-Polito administration has done over the last seven years,” Baker wrote in a campaign e-mail to supporters on Monday, The Boston Globe reports.
Amore told the newspaper last week that, if he is elected, one of his goals is “to protect the legacy of Baker and Polito as they leave office.”
“I don’t want to see (their work) undone when he leaves office,” Amore, of Winchester, said.
Amore is the sole Republican in the auditor race. Chris Dempsey, a transportation advocate, and state Sen. Diana DiZoglio are both vying for the Democratic nomination.
As Massachusetts attorney general during the four years President Donald Trump was in the White House, Maura Healey, by her count, sued the Trump Administration over 100 times.
Healey, often among a coalition of state attorneys general that took on Trump in court, challenged the then-president on his travel ban in 2017, the separation of families at the nation’s southern border in 2018, and his changes to the U.S. postal service in the build-up to the 2020 election.
Healey and her counterparts won over 80 percent of those cases, she told Vanity Fair in late 2020.
The lawsuits did little to dissuade Trump.
As a top prosecutor in one of the nation’s bluest states, was Healey taking the Republican to court, regularly, simply political posturing?
Healey says that wasn’t the case.
In an episode of “Sway,” a New York Times podcast, published on Monday, host Kara Swisher asked Healey if “a lot” of the lawsuits were “just performative” or if she was “really going for something” — a question that didn’t sit right with Healey.
“No, we were — I strongly reject the premise of that question,” Healey said.
“We saw him try to take away healthcare, try to take away contraception, go after immigrant communities, cut off SNAP benefits, institute the travel ban, which here in Massachusetts, meant that a lot of our companies, our universities, didn’t have students or professors or workers who were able to return to the United States (or) Massachusetts to work.
“It was just like every week, he as doing something harmful, rolling back important environmental regulations that have been put in place to deal with greenhouse gases, tinkering with the census, which would have had the effect of cutting off federal funding to our states.
“So yeah, we sued him probably over 100, times based on things he had done that were illegal, unconstitutional and hurtful to our residents or businesses of the like. And you know what? We won nearly 85 percent of those cases. We went to court, we got orders to block him. And in blocking him, that was important because it was a way to stop bad things from happening. It was sort of sad that we had to be constantly going to court, but we were successful and it was absolutely necessary to hold the line until he left office.”
Healey also clarified that although no Republican attorneys general sued Trump, she believes many of them were afraid of the president and afraid of retaliation.
Trump, a private citizen again, is now the subject of numerous investigations and lawsuits, including a Congressional probe into the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Is there anything that could happen, legally speaking, that would prevent Trump from trying for a second term, Swisher asked?
“Absolutely,” Healey said. “I mean, I think any number of things could happen, including his prosecution.”
Healey entered the race for governor in January and quickly became the frontrunner in early polls of the field of Democratic contenders, despite lacking specifics on her policy proposals.
With Massachusetts having its own record of preferring moderate Republicans in the governor’s office, Swisher asked Healey if there is a benefit to having those leaders in a deep-blue state.
“So this probably isn’t going to surprise you, but I think all rules are out the window at this point,” Healey said. “I think that in this time, what people are looking for is somebody they know who’s going to listen to them and to really get things done. I think that’s what people are looking for in government leaders.”
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Sonia Chang-Díaz’s campaign is calling out their opponent, Maura Healey, over not heeding the state senator’s call for at least three televised debates ahead of the party’s convention in June.
Last week, Chang-Díaz wrote to Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, requesting the two debate before party delegates meet to select a candidate to endorse this summer.
“Democrats deserve to hear publicly from their candidates for governor on the important issues facing us today,” Chang-Díaz wrote. “This moment calls for leadership that is willing to answer the tough questions and provide fearless commitment to the residents we serve.”
Healey’s campaign subsequently told The Boston Globe Healey has participated in “dozens of caucuses and candidate forums” and will take part in debates before the Sept. 6 primary election.
Joshua Wolfsun, Chang-Díaz’s campaign manager, took aim at Healey over the “dodge” on Monday.
“The people of Massachusetts deserve a governor who will respect the democratic process, not expect a coronation,” Wolfsun said in a statement. “The Attorney General’s move to dodge committing to three debates before the convention is bad for the voters of our state — and inconsistent with her past positions.”
Wolfsun cited an April 1, 2014 tweet from Healey, in which she called on her opponent — when she was first running for attorney general — to debate “at least once a month” until the election that year.
Additionally, Chang-Díaz’s challenge to Healey is in line with the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, during which candidates engaged in at least three debates and forums before June that year, Wolfsun said.
“Our Democratic nominee for governor shouldn’t be afraid to get on a stage across from other candidates and debate the real issues,” Wolfsun said. “Too much is at stake, and the voters deserve nothing less.”
Early polls have consistently shown Healey with a comfortable lead.
A poll conducted by the Fiscal Alliance Foundation released earlier this month found Healey, with support from approximately 31 percent of those surveyed, was the preferred candidate, even among all candidates, both Democratic and Republican. Chang-Díaz trailed candidates from both parties, with 1.2 percent.
But it’s a long way until Election Day: Just over 50 percent of 750 registered voters surveyed were still undecided.
Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com
Stay up to date with everything Boston. Receive the latest news and breaking updates, straight from our newsroom to your inbox.