Healey’s victory as the Democratic nominee for governor was preordained, of course, since she was unopposed at campaign’s end. Not so Campbell, who had a contested primary against deep-pocketed rival Shannon Liss-Riordan. But with her own strong effort and sisters-in-arms aid from Healey, Campbell won an impressive victory for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.
One can now all but guarantee that Healey will be the next governor of Massachusetts. Campbell, meanwhile, is highly likely to be the next attorney general. Why? Well, consider their opponents, Geoff Diehl, the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee, and Jay McMahon, its AG candidate. Both were handily dispatched in their 2018 bids for statewide office. Healey beat McMahon by almost 40 percentage points that year to win her second term as attorney general. Diehl lost to Senator Elizabeth Warren by 24 percentage points.
The GOP’s one real possibility in November? The auditor’s post, where author, former federal safety official, and Gardner Museum director of security Anthony Amore will square off against Democratic nominee Diana DiZoglio, a state senator and union favorite. Outgoing Republican Governor Charlie Baker is all in with Amore as a way to keep a beachhead for pragmatic Republicanism in Massachusetts. Even with that, however, Amore faces an uphill fight. He lost his 2018 bid for statewide office, that time against Bill Galvin for secretary of state, by more than 40 percentage points. The indomitable Galvin, by the way, easily turned back a primary challenge on Tuesday, setting himself up to win an eighth term in November.
The Trumpist Diehl’s victory over Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty counts as good news for Healey. Doughty might have been able to make the general election competitive.
Diehl’s win, contrariwise, represents a Pyrrhic victory for the Trumpist wing of the Massachusetts Republican Party. It will give temporary bragging rights to right-wing state GOP Chairman Jim Lyons and his state committee faction, who have abandoned the lifeboat of moderate Massachusetts Republicanism to swim back toward the Titanic of Trumpism. But that kind of politics doesn’t fare well in mainstream Massachusetts.
In her own well-crafted victory speech, Healey sounded a bipartisan note, citing Baker’s results-oriented, reach-across-the-aisle example. She is reaching toward the center, even as Diehl’s victory continues the state GOP’s polarizing path MAGA-ward.
Campbell’s victory in the contest for the Democratic attorney general nomination means that Massachusetts will, in all likelihood, elect its first Black woman to statewide office in November.
Yet this race wasn’t solely or principally about identity politics. Campbell’s time as a Boston city councilor and her smart, policy-oriented 2021 campaign for mayor, plus her better developed plans for the AG’s office, had won her a reputation for substance, breadth, and promise, at least among the politically aware. In contrast, Liss-Riordan, a class-action attorney, had used her wealth to fund a campaign that built not from the ground up but from the TV airwaves down. In the end, despite spending north of $9 million, there was a limit to just how far that could take her.
This race was telling for other reasons as well. It pitted the clout and coattails of Healey against those of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and US Senator Elizabeth Warren. Healey didn’t just endorse Campbell, she made a concerted effort on her behalf, campaigning regularly with her, including on Tuesday in Mattapan.
That clearly helped Campbell withstand the late out-of-left-field endorsements that Wu and Warren bestowed on Liss-Riordan.
Wu’s backing of Liss-Riordan, the opponent of her own formal mayoral rival, made her look Tom Menino-esque. Which is to say, the Wu Train made an ill-advised and unscheduled stop in Pettysburg — to the detriment of its conductor’s carefully cultivated image.
For her part, Warren’s endorsement made her past criticism of candidates who try to buy races with their personal fortunes look like just so much self-serving political palaver. Add this strange endorsement to Warren’s poorly conceptualized 2020 presidential run, and her third-place finish in her home state’s 2020 presidential primary, and it suggests someone steering by an off-kilter political compass.
These endorsements left a sour taste in many mouths. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for the awkward conversations to come between the mayor or the senator and the two women newly ascendant in Massachusetts?