Politics

With 3 weeks to Election Day, the state auditor race has become surprisingly riveting

In a recent debate, Republican Anthony Amore and Democrat Diana DiZoglio both accused each other of being "desperate."

WBZ debate Anthony Amore Diana DiZoglio
Accusations flew in the state auditor debate moderated by WBZ's Jim Keller Thursday between Republican nominee Anthony Amore and Democratic nominee state Senator Diana DiZoglio. (WBZ-TV) WBZ-TV

With only three weeks until the Nov. 8 Election Day, the race for state auditor — strangely the “most interesting” this election, as GBH notes — has turned tense.

The race to replace outgoing Auditor Suzanne Bump is perhaps the best chance for the MassGOP to get a candidate into statewide office, as one recent poll showed: Even at an 18-point margin between Republican Anthony Amore and Democrat Diana DiZoglio, the margin is the slimmest between the two parties among the major races.

And the race has heated up.

Court records that surfaced Monday show Amore’s ex-wife alleged he emotionally and verbally abused her and “shoved” her while also threatening “revenge” as she filed for a restraining order in 2009 amid the couple’s divorce, NBC 10 Boston reports.

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Amore, the director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, suggested DiZoglio, a state senator, sent the documents to the press, according to the outlet.

The two candidates also recently squared off in a tense debate that shed little light on what each would actually do in office if elected, The Boston Globe reported.

DiZoglio highlighted how Amore voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 and said Amore has deleted thousands of tweets from his account, including some expressing support for Trump.

Amore said he did no such thing.

DiZoglio also accused Amore of sexism when he questioned her qualifications for office, while Amore called DiZoglio a “zealot” who is too close to lawmakers and organizations that she would have to be critical of as state auditor.

Here’s what to know:

Amore’s ex-wife accused him of verbal and emotional abuse in 2009.

On Monday, NBC 10 Boston reported court records show Amore’s now ex-wife filed for a restraining order against him in 2009 after he allegedly emotionally and verbally abused her.

His ex-wife also alleged he “shoved” her and threatened “revenge,” documents reviewed by the news station show. She said she was concerned since Amore owned a gun.

She was granted a temporary restraining order, which required Amore to leave his family’s home and turn over his firearm to authorities, NBC 10 Boston reports.

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According to the Amore campaign, the restraining order was “automatically put in place after hours on a Friday.”

When a judge reviewed the matter on the following Monday morning, he found it without merit and had the order lifted, the campaign told Boston.com.

Amore ultimately got the gun back months after the initial court order and after his ex-wife agreed the firearm should be returned, according to the campaign.

Documents show the state Department of Children and Families supported Amore’s ex-wife’s allegations at first, but reversed its ruling a year later. The agency said it was wrong to initially support the allegations, according to the outlet.

In a statement to NBC 10 Boston, Amore suggested DiZoglio’s campaign leaked the files. However, court documents are public record, DiZoglio’s campaign noted when contacted by Boston.com for this article.

“Divorce is painful and takes a toll on all members of the family. Mine was no different,” Amore’s statement said. “It is deeply disappointing that my opponent would stoop to attacking my family simply to win political office. This level of ruthlessness is not what the people of Massachusetts need or want.”

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford told the station the files bring up “serious questions” about Amore.

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“Not only do these serious allegations call into question his temperament, the fact that he did not proactively disclose this information to voters presents serious doubts about his commitment to transparency, a cornerstone value of the auditor’s office,” Bickford said. “Massachusetts deserves an auditor who will be fully transparent.”

Amore accused DiZoglio of lying when DiZoglio said he deleted 10,000 tweets.

At times during a debate on WBZ-TV last week, both DiZoglio and Amore accused each other of being “desperate,” the Globe noted.

One of the more tense moments of Thursday’s debate came as DiZoglio pulled out a printed screenshot of what she said was a tweet in which Amore defended Trump’s behavior of sexual harassment.

The tweet was among many — or “to the tune of 10,000 tweets” — DiZoglio said Amore has deleted. DiZoglio said Amore expressed his support of Trump in some of those tweets.

Amore, however, denied deleting tweets.

“That’s just a complete falsehood,” the Republican said.

Amore said he has his Twitter account set so tweets are automatically deleted every few months. In the retweet DiZoglio mentioned, the author of the tweet had written that not all sexual harassment is a crime, Amore said.

DiZoglio went on to reiterate her points about the tweets at different times in the debate.

And Amore went on to tell her: “It’s weak. It’s beneath you.”

Amore did vote for Trump in 2020, but later called for the former president’s impeachment, GBH reports.

Appearing on WCVB’s “On The Record” on Sunday, DiZoglio reiterated her position on the tweets. She also pushed back on the notion Amore is a moderate.

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“That’s not what the record reflects,” she said. “I know that’s the message that’s trying to be spun right now … But you can’t take back that you voted for [Trump] in 2020 and were on the record online defending him for years on various issues, and there are screenshots of that.”

Amore, earlier in last week’s debate, held his professional experience of conducting audits and leading both private and governmental organizations makes him more well-suited for the job than his opponent.

He noted most of DiZoglio’s career has been spent inside the State House.

“I think it’s excellent background for a legislator, but it’s not a background for auditing,” he said.

But DiZoglio offered that she spent a decade on Beacon Hill going through the yearly budget “line by line.”

Still, Amore called DiZoglio a “zealot,” and suggested she is too close to politicians and groups she would have to audit, if elected.

He highlighted her campaign events with Democrats running for statewide office and donations her campaign has received from labor groups.

DiZoglio, in turn, accused Amore of sexism as he pressed her on her resume, the Globe reports.

“Mr. Amore, I’m used to men like you up on Beacon Hill trying to dismiss and discredit the work of women working up on Beacon Hill who absolutely have the experience and the capabilities to do our job,” she said.

The early voting period for the state elections begins Oct. 22.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Amore campaign regarding the restraining order. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when Amore’s firearm was returned to him.

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