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Diehl Endorsed By GOP To Face Warren In November

Josh Landes

Massachusetts Republicans have picked a candidate to face Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren this fall. But state Representative Geoff Diehl still has to win a primary.

At the state GOP convention in Worcester Saturday, the final and most contested race was for Senator. Three Republicans entered the DCU Center as legitimate contenders for the party’s endorsement to run again Warren: State Representative Geoff Diehl, former Mitt Romney staffer and Scott Brown campaign manager Beth Lindstrom, and wealthy businessman John Kingston.

Kingston’s nominator was Jim Rappaport, a delegate from Boston and longtime Republican political operative. Rappaport described Warren, a first-term Democrat, an “an extreme politician who has corrupted our democracy and compromised our way of life."

Said Rappaport, "I’m here today because like all of you, I care too much about the fundamental values upon which this nation was founded to watch them slip away into the liberal abyss.”

Kingston echoed that tone in his address, doubling down on policy issues he was unwilling to commit to in an interview with WAMC in February, like whether he would vote for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

“So let’s start with a question everyone’s asking: Where is Elizabeth Warren?" asked Kingston. "I’ll tell you where she is — busy siding with illegal immigrants, seeking amnesty for all, and pushing for open borders. I’ll fight to secure our borders and stop the reckless policy of sanctuary cities. And let’s make this concrete — when President Trump brings a vote to build a wall, Elizabeth Warren would vote no. I would vote yes.”

Lindstrom drew on her experience running the upset 2010 Brown campaign against then State Attorney General Martha Coakley to energize the crowd.

“I have worked side by side with many of you in campaigns from years past, helping to elect Republicans in Massachusetts. And in nearly every case where we were successful, where we were warned the odds were against us — but we proved the naysayers wrong," said Lindstrom to applause. "Now, another opportunity is upon us.”

A WBUR poll in March found Warren with a 30-point advantage over the top three Republican challengers combined.

Diehl was the last candidate to speak, drawing on his experience on Beacon Hill in repealing a 2014 tax plan that linked gas taxes to inflation.

“Not only was it the biggest tax increase in our state’s history, but it was also taxation without representation. Sound familiar?" asked Diehl. "Imagine that — Massachusetts, the home of Revolutionary War, was about to let greedy Beacon Hill politicians turn back the clock to taxation without representation, to grab your money and fund continued wasteful spending. Well, I stood up and said — not on my watch.”

Over the course of two protracted ballots, Diehl, the state representative from the Plymouth 7th district, won the party’s endorsement, with 55 percent of the delegates supporting him.

“This is a time for us to come together as Republicans, a time for us to forge ahead as a united ticket to defeat Elizabeth Warren," said Diehl. "This is our moment, this is our chance to say we want a senator who will listen to us, and not lecture us. We want a senator who will fight to secure our borders. We want a senator who will fight for the taxpayers. And we want a senator who will put Massachusetts first and move our state forward.”

While Diehl took the endorsement, both Kingston and Lindstrom broke the 15 percent of the vote required to force a primary September 4th. The winner will face Warren in the general election November 6th.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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