Mass. AG nears historic first as state becomes latest Trump test

Healey, if she wins, would also be the state’s first openly gay female governor. And she will run for governor on a two-woman ticket with Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who went through his three-way Democratic primary for the No. 2 spot on Tuesday — making Massachusetts one of three states that can elect women to both positions this year at the same time. In Arkansas, Republicans nominated Sarah Huckabee Sanders for governor and Leslie Rutledge for lieutenant governor. And in Ohio, Democrats lead Nan Whaley and Cheryl Stephens.

“With your help, for the first time, Massachusetts will elect the first governor and lieutenant governor on an all-female ticket,” Driscoll told supporters after declaring victory Tuesday night. “That’s right – not one, but two women in the corner office.”

Further down the ballot, former Boston City Councilwoman Andrea Campbell would become the first black woman elected attorney general if she beats Republican Jay McMahon in November. Campbell and Rayla Campbell, a Republican waging a long-running campaign for secretary of state against seven-term Democratic incumbent Bill Galvin, said they made history Tuesday night as the first black women nominated for statewide position in Massachusetts.

Treasurer Deb Goldberg is unopposed in her bid for re-election. And State Sen. Diana DiZoglio moved closer to the auditor’s office after beating her top Democratic rival, Chris Dempsey, on Tuesday.

“It’s quite amazing that, despite our progressive reputation, Massachusetts has never elected a female governor and we’ve never had women truly ready to lead the Commonwealth in the highest office,” Amanda Lee, executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which advocates for women in politics, said in an interview. “It’s a major turning point.”

But it will first be necessary to wage heated battles for the general elections. Diehl’s victory over the more moderate Republican Chris Doughty is holding the gubernatorial contest to be a referendum on Trump’s legacy in a state that has twice dealt him some of its biggest defeats.

And the progressive wing of the Massachusetts Democratic Party is littered with losses after Tuesday’s primaries. As they applaud the likelihood of breaking multiple glass ceilings in November, progressive activists who have won major victories in recent years with Rep. Ayanna Pressleysen. Ed Markey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu are angry after their statewide candidates failed.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, who ran to Healey’s left in a battle between two progressives, dropped out of the Democratic primary in June. Quentin Palfrey, who won the state party’s endorsement as attorney general, ended up race exit a week before the primary to support Andrea Campbell. Three other candidates backed by major progressive groups — Dempsey, state Rep. Tami Gouveia for lieutenant governor and Tanisha Sullivan for secretary of state — all lost Tuesday night.

They typically lacked campaign money, name recognition in a low-interest primary, shrewd outreach, or all three. Chang-Díaz proved unable to match the near-universal recognition that Healey, a two-term attorney general, had from Democratic primary voters or from her massive campaign coffers. Healey entered the general election with more than $4.7 million.

Palfrey, despite being the state’s Democratic Party nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018, trailed in the polls against Andrea Campbell, who had just finished third in the mayoral race in Boston last year, and Shannon Liss-Riordan, labor attorney and former US Senator. candidate who poured $9.3 million of her own money into her campaign. Sullivan and Gouveia never advertised on television.

“We’ve had candidates over the last few years who have done a lot of really good progressive programs, but also spent a lot of time laying the groundwork,” Jonathan Cohn, policy director for Progressive Massachusetts, said in an interview. “One of the problems with this cycle is that there aren’t many candidates who have made it.”

To be clear, Healey is a progressive — but not as leftist as some Massachusetts activists would have liked.

But Cohn and other progressives say they’ll take Healey if it means taking back the corner office from the Republicans who have held it for nearly 30 years and breaking down some barriers along the way.

Massachusetts is no stranger to electing women: Former Lt. Governor Evelyn Murphy became the first to win one of the state’s six constitutional offices in 1986, followed by former treasurer Shannon O’Brien in 1999. In 2001, Jane Swift became acting governor when she was then governor. Paul Cellucci resigned to become United States Ambassador to Canada.

But two decades after Swift, Massachusetts lags behind many other states. Nine states have female governors. Thirty of the 45 women who have served as governors in 31 states have been elected to the position, while the rest were appointed or assumed the role by constitutional succession, according to Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics.

“This state has always had a reputation for being pretty parochial and sticking to people who are more like me: white, Irish and male,” former state Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston said in an interview. . “So this represents a step change that I think should be celebrated. This is great progress in Massachusetts.

With the Republican primary for lieutenant governor too close to be called early Wednesday morning, Driscoll’s victory on the Democratic side ensures the general election will be a contest between two candidates. And the slew of women running for office across the state comes a year after voters saw four women, including Andrea Campbell, leading Boston’s mayoral race.

“Even seeing multiple women running for these positions helps break down a lot of long-standing stereotypes that voters have,” explained Hunter, of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation. “We know from our research that when we ask voters to imagine a governor, the majority always imagine a man. Just seeing different examples of what a candidate looks like helps voters expand that perception in their minds for the future.

This potential banner year for women candidates at the state level in Massachusetts comes as the US Supreme Court has ruled to end five decades of constitutional abortion access. pushes women in some states to register to vote en masse.

While abortion is enshrined in Massachusetts state law, Healey Democrats on the ballot made it clear through stump speeches and TV ads that they would be champions of reproductive rights. And they argue that their Republican opponents will not be in a state where 78% of residents believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

“Women are energized”, Deputy Speaker of the House Catherine Clark (D-Mass.) said in an interview. “And this election, more than any other I can think of, has such ramifications for women.”

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