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On CNN, Walsh avoids question on Mass. governor’s race: ‘I’m focused right now’ on labor secretary job

Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh speaks at a press conference after touring the Port of Los Angeles on Tuesday in San Pedro, Calif.Mario Tama/Getty

Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh didn’t bite Friday morning on CNN when asked if he plans to run for governor of his home state of Massachusetts, but he didn’t rule out a possible bid for the corner office on Beacon Hill.

Walsh, in response to a question about whether he plans to jump into the gubernatorial race, told CNN he spoke to Governor Charlie Baker Wednesday after the popular centrist Republican announced he wouldn’t seek a third term.

“I wished him well — we worked very closely together in my time as mayor, and also during the beginning of the pandemic,” said Walsh, the former mayor of Boston who left that job for the Labor Department role in President Biden’s cabinet.


Walsh said this week he’s been focused on his duties as labor secretary, including monitoring port operations on the West Coast amid ongoing global supply chain issues.

Asked if he’s ruled out a run for governor, Walsh, a former labor leader and Democratic state representative in Massachusetts, demurred.

“Again, I’m focused right now on what I’m doing here at the Department of Labor at the current moment,” Walsh said.

Speculation has swirled over who might get into the governor’s race now that Baker, the clear front-runner had he sought a third term, has bowed out. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito also announced Wednesday that she will not seek reelection, nor will she run for governor.

Three prominent Democrats already have declared their candidacies: state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, former state senator Ben Downing, and Harvard professor Danielle Allen. But the immediate focus turned Wednesday to one who’s been coy about her plans: Maura Healey, the well-known Democratic attorney general.

Healey has said she’s considering running for governor, but when asked Wednesday during an appearance on Bloomberg TV, she said, “I’ll save that for another day,” promising a decision “soon.”


“Really today is about acknowledging, I think, and appreciating the service of Governor Baker,” Healey said. “These jobs are not easy, particularly in these challenging times.”

On the GOP side, Geoff Diehl, a Trump-endorsed conservative and former state representative, has been running since July. Trump pledged his support to Diehl last month, injecting himself into a state he lost badly in 2016 and 2020 but where he retains support within the upper rungs of the Massachusetts Republican Party leadership and its conservative ranks.

In the wake of Baker’s announcement, Walsh received a flood of calls encouraging him to consider entering the governor’s race, said one person with knowledge of Walsh’s thinking.

“He’s just processing the news,” the person said earlier this week.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at