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Maura Healey endorsed for governor at Massachusetts Democratic Convention

Healey convention.jpg
Paul Tuthill
/
WAMC
Maura Healey waves from the stage of the DCU Center in Worcester where she was endorsed for governor at the 2022 Massachusetts Democratic Convention.

Healey, the frontrunner, faces a primary against State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz

The Massachusetts Democratic convention in Worcester Saturday set up primary contests to fill five statewide offices.

Pledging to be “a governor for all of you”, Maura Healey was overwhelmingly endorsed at Saturday’s convention, putting the popular two-term attorney general a step closer to becoming the first woman elected to serve as governor in the state’s history.

“We are in a moment- a moment of great challenge, but also a moment Massachusetts of great opportunity,” Healey said from the stage of the DCU Center in Worcester.

There will be a Democratic primary for governor in September as Healey received 71 percent of the delegates’ votes and State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz received support from almost 29 percent of the delegates – comfortably past the 15 percent threshold required to qualify for the primary ballot.

The eventual Democratic nominee for governor will face the winner of the Republican primary between Trump-backed former State Rep. Geoff Diehl and business-owner Chris Doughty.

“Some say Republicans in this race are different here in Massachusetts – give me a break,” Healey said. “Look at that (Republican) convention two weeks ago where there was so much hatred and vitriol.”

In her convention speech, delivered to a cheering crowd waving rainbow colored campaign signs with her name, Healey ran through a list of priorities if elected governor including cutting housing costs, job training, east-west passenger rail, and implementing a surtax on millionaires.

Healey has been the presumptive frontrunner for governor from the day she announced her candidacy five months ago. She has led in public opinion polls, has far more campaign cash than her rivals and now is the endorsee of the convention. Speaking with reporters, she insisted she takes nothing for granted.

“I’m a competitor and I’ve played in enough games in my life to know not to pay attention to scores, or polls, or anything else.” Healey said.

Chang-Diaz, a five-term State Senator, has tried to run to the left of Healey by highlighting her support for single-payer healthcare, tuition-free college, and fare-free public transportation. She told reporters she’ll keep stressing her progressive stands in the primary campaign.

“People in this state are hungry for change,” Chang-Diaz said.

In the five-way contest for lieutenant governor, three candidates are moving on to the September primary—Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, State Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton, and State Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow. State Senator Adam Hinds of Pittsfield and former business-owner Bret Bero did not clear the 15 percent hurdle.

With both gubernatorial candidates residing in the city of Boston, Lesser said he’ll stress to primary voters the need for geographic balance on the November ticket.

“I think it is very important we have a good ticket that reflects the entire state,” Lesser said.

The convention delegates endorsed Tanisha Sullivan in her bid to deny Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin a chance to be elected to an unprecedented 8th term. Galvin has lost convention endorsements in the past, but always prevailed in the primaries. Sullivan, a former head of the Boston NAACP, said voters in Massachusetts need to get out of the habit of voting for incumbents.

“This is going to be a different year,” Sullivan said.

There will be a three-way primary in September for the Democratic nomination for attorney general among former Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, former assistant attorney general Quentin Palfrey, and labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan.

Transportation advocate Chris Dempsey was endorsed for State Auditor. He will have a primary challenge from State Senator Diana DiZoglio.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.