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As Mass. Democrats gather for state convention this weekend, GOP candidates hope for red wave

MassGOP endorsed Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate Rayla Campbell addresses the party's state convention in the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
Josh Landes
MassGOP endorsed Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate Rayla Campbell addresses the party's state convention in the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

As Massachusetts Democrats prepare for their state convention this weekend, WAMC is taking a look at the Republicans who await in November’s general election. A warning that this story includes some graphic, incendiary rhetoric.

At May’s MassGOP convention in Springfield, former state Representatives Geoff Diehl and Leah Cole Allen secured their party’s endorsements in September’s primary for governor and lieutenant governor.

Diehl has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Rivals Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale secured enough support to make it to the ballot, ensuring one more contest to see which Republicans will stand for the most powerful offices in the state this fall.

The party’s endorsed candidates for other top state roles were uncontested.

“The Office of the State Auditor matters. It has extraordinary power to uncover and expose waste, fraud and abuse in state government. Our state government spends $40 billion per year. You cannot tell me that there is no room to bring out some savings in there. The auditor can help save government can help state government to spend wisely and demand less of the taxpayers," said Anthony Amore, who has worked in various capacities in the security industry.

He's the MassGOP’s endorsed candidate for state auditor. Across the aisle, Chris Dempsey and Diana DiZoglio are competing in the Democratic primary.

“I am of the belief that because the auditor has for decades been subordinate to the majority party's power structure on Beacon Hill, we hear very little about what the office does and even less about what it can do," said Amore. "Instead, the state auditor has been quietly maintaining the status quo for state government, doing as little as possible to ensure that no Democrat gets embarrassed or sees their power threatened. It's time for that to change.”

Jay McMahon, who received the party’s endorsement in his bid for attorney general, described himself as a constitutional conservative. He riled up the Republican base by tying incumbent Democrat Maura Healey – who is now running for governor – to Hillary Clinton.

“Maura Healey absolutely knew of the fiasco that occurred in Benghazi when Hillary Clinton was satisfied with the stand down order when they wouldn't rescue that handful of Americans, leaving them to die," he said. "She knew that. Maura Healey knew that. Maura Healey knew that Hillary tried to obstruct justice by scrubbing her private server when the government subpoenaed the information off of it.”

Lambasting Democrats for failing to stand by law enforcement, McMahon echoed objectively false right-wing narratives about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“In 2020, after the unfortunate death of George Floyd, certain cities in America were set ablaze," said the candidate. "Now, I saw that. I was watching it on TV. And then we had some of these out of state, George Soros funded Anitfa thugs come into Massachusetts. And I'm watching on TV as they were assembling in Boston, in other areas of the Commonwealth as well. And I see them throwing bricks and bottles at our police officers who are trying to maintain order and prevent anarchy, even though businesses were being looted and burnt to the ground.”

McMahon’s Democratic rivals for attorney general are Andrea Campbell, Shannon Liss-Riordan, and Quentin Palfrey.

“There are three woke candidates on the other side, waiting in a circular firing squad to prove which one of them are the most left progressive,” said McMahon.

Even as he propagated fearful narratives of a state driven to madness by Democratic politics and used the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” in reference to President Joe Biden, McMahon’s tone would pale in comparison to fellow MassGOP endorsed candidate Rayla Campbell.

“There is a red tsunami that is brewing, and we are going to crush and destroy these rotten devils that call themselves Democrats," she said. "This is a battle of good versus evil. And God is telling us, please, rise up my people. This is your job. This is your duty.”

Campbell, who is running for Secretary of the Commonwealth, made spurious and graphic claims about the state’s public education system.

“I don't think it's nice when they're telling your 5-year-old that he can go and suck another 5-year-old’s dick, do you?" asked Campbell. "This is what they're doing. I've got a radio show, and I'm going to give it to you guys like it is, because that's what's happening in your schools. This is what your children have to- And if it makes you uncomfortable, it should. Because you’ve got to make them uncomfortable.”

Campbell described herself as staunchly pro-gun and anti-abortion, and told delegates her family had disowned her for being a Republican.

“There are two genders," said the candidate. "I have a son and two daughters. My son is a boy. He will always be a boy. My daughters are girls. They will always be girls. I'm a woman. And I am proud to be a woman.”

Campbell also took aim at long-serving incumbent Democrat William Galvin, elected in 1994.

“Right now, Galvin's breaking the law yet again," said Campbell. "Everybody's had town meetings or they have upcoming town meetings. Whose face is on the inside of your town meeting agenda? Oh, wait, did you just send that out using your face to get votes? Voter intimidation, ethics violation. He's done this before. He will not get away with it again this time under my watch.”

Beyond Campbell, Galvin faces a challenger in his own party, Tanisha Sullivan.

Massachusetts Democrats meet in Worcester this weekend to determine their slate of endorsed candidates for the September 6th primary.

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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