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GOP gubernatorial hopeful Chris Doughty drops $500k on summer ad buy targeting Maura Healey, not Geoff Diehl

GOP candidate for governor Chris Doughty spoke during the the 2022 Republican State Convention in Springfield in May.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty, one of two Republicans running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Massachusetts, is spending about $500,000 on television ads starting Tuesday, his campaign said.

The 30-second spot is focused not on his primary opponent, Geoff Diehl, who polls have found to be leading the party contest, but on presumptive Democratic nominee Maura Healey.

The ad, which will run on cable and on streaming platforms in the Boston and Springfield markets, focuses on the inflation squeezing Massachusetts residents and characterizes Healey, the attorney general, as a member of the Democratic establishment who isn’t acting quickly enough to provide relief.

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Doughty, who has poured more than $1 million of his own money into the campaign, has nearly 16 times the funds Diehl has in cash on hand, though he has trailed the former state representative in every poll.

The ad says Doughty is running for governor to represent working families, who “can’t afford to live in Massachusetts.”

“Massachusetts keeps sending the same types to Beacon Hill,” the narrator in the ad, titled “Too Expensive” says. “Beacon Hill politicians addicted to our tax dollars, making Massachusetts even more costly.”

“High inflation, expensive groceries, high taxes,” the ad says. “Healey would make things worse. A lot worse.”

The narrator also draws on national GOP talking points, saying Doughty will “defend our police” and “protect our kids in the classroom.”

A campaign spokeswoman said Doughty’s promise to protect children is an ideological one, and he wants to protect children against “politics” like lessons on critical race theory.

“It’s about taking politics out of the classroom, and giving parents more input on what their children are learning,” spokeswoman Holly Robichaud said.

The ad, which characterizes Doughty as a “conservative outsider” ends with a play on the candidate’s name, promising voters: “Keep more of your dough with Doughty as governor.”

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Soon after Democratic state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz ended her gubernatorial campaign, both GOP candidates released statements targeting Healey.

Diehl, who has been endorsed by Donald Trump and trumpeted his false claims that the 2020 election was rigged, tweeted the news “makes this now a clear contest between my vision to make MA a better place to live and work, and the policies of Maura Healey which would drive more families and businesses to leave our state in search of better opportunities elsewhere.”

Doughty, in a statement, accused Healey of muscling the Jamaica Plain senator out of the gubernatorial primary so “Democrat voters don’t have a choice.”

“We believe that voters should have choices in elections, not coronations,” he said.


Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross.