State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, who announced in May of last year that she would not be running for a fourth term, endorsed former transportation advocate Chris Dempseyto succeed her in the largely administrative position.
In a letter to delegates to the Democratic State Convention, the current auditor urged the activists to join her in supporting Dempsey at the event, which takes place in Worcester on June 3 and 4.
Bump pointed to Dempsey’s experience in the Deval Patrick administration and leadership of a campaign that ultimately helped sink Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics as reasons the 39-year-old Brookline Democrat is fit to take her job.
She also took the opportunity to slam his opponent, state Senator Diana DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat who has promised to audit the state Legislature and make use of the position’s subpoena authority if elected.
“Chris is a true progressive, whose positions and voting record contrast sharply with those of the other Democratic candidate in the race,” Bump wrote in the letter. “Chris’s personal integrity means that every audit will represent a tool to improve state government, not a weapon to take down an individual or institution or grab a gratuitous headline.”
Bump has pushed back against DiZoglio’s campaign in the press, weighing in on the office’s subpoena authority and auditing power. DiZoglio has said in interviews that she disagreed with Bump’s assessments and would push the office to more aggressively use its powers on behalf of Massachusetts residents.
In a statement, the DiZoglio campaign said that the senator’s “willingness to use the full powers” of the auditor’s office to investigate specific issues like nondisclosure agreements “makes supporters of the status quo nervous and uncomfortable.”
“But it’s time for bold change and a willingness to take on the challenges that have not yet been taken on,” the campaign said, citing endorsements from labor unions and progressive leaders like state Senators Lydia Edwards, Julian Cyr, and Adam Gomez.
In an interview, Bump said that her relationship with Dempsey predates his candidacy. She worked with him on Patrick’s gubernatorial campaign in 2006, and offered him a job as her chief of staff in 2018. They started speaking more regularly after the Democratic caucuses earlier this year, and Bump said she plans to make a maximum contribution of $1,000 to Dempsey’s campaign.
In the letter, Bump invited delegates to a “celebration” with Dempsey in the lobby of the Mercantile Center in downtown Worcester. She also appeared in a two-minute video endorsement for Dempsey’s campaign.
Bump announced that she would not be running for a fourth term in May of last year, and Dempsey announced in July.
“I have followed his career and been extremely impressed by his analytic capabilities, his strategic thinking, and the way he understands how good data makes for better policy,” Bump told the Globe. “Those things are not what the average voter looks for, but those are skills that I value.”
In a statement, Dempsey thanked Bump for the recognition.
“I look forward to building on her successes and ensuring that the office is an independent voice on Beacon Hill for taxpayers and everyone who relies on public services and a well-functioning state government,” he said.
Dempsey served as an assistant secretary of transportation in the Deval Patrick administration. In 2015, he gained attention as a leader of the “No Boston Olympics” campaign. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Dempsey works as a private consultant and led the advocacy group Transportation for Massachusetts as its director for four years. He stepped down in 2021 to run for auditor.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Anthony Amore, the unopposed Republican candidate who jumped into the race in March and has since been endorsed by Governor Charlie Baker.
In a recent UMass Lowell survey of likely Democratic primary voters, Dempsey led by 2 percentage points, within the margin of error. At the end of the last campaign finance reporting period in April, DiZoglio led Dempsey in cash on hand, with $524,395 to his $339,701.