Will Geoff Diehl, the Donald Trump-endorsed Republican nominee for governor who has echoed the former president’s bogus claims that the 2020 election was rigged, accept the results of the November election in Massachusetts?
Yes, Diehl said a day after The New York Times published a story in which his campaign gave a “no comment” when asked whether Diehl would agree to the outcome of his race against Democratic nominee Maura Healey.
Diehl said in a statement Monday that if he sees problems with the voting process, he will call out the problems and “seek resolution” through legal means.
But “once those means are exhausted, or if there are no such irregularities in the first place, the election is over and its results must be respected according to our democratic tradition,” he said.
A spokeswoman, Peggy Rose, said that means Diehl, former state lawmaker from Whitman, will accept the results in race against Healey, the attorney general, who has also pledged to accept the results.
But Diehl’s statements about the 2020 election, won by President Joe Biden, have been less affirming of democratic norms.
In an August interview with conservative radio host Jeff Kuhner, he said, “It definitely was an election that was stolen from Trump, and it was rigged in a way that should never happen again.”
In his statement Monday, Diehl said that the “gotcha questions” from reporters are part of an attempt to create a false narrative that politicians like himself will deny any election results.
He said by asking the question, media outlets are asking candidates to “blindly accept the result of an election” before it happens.
“Liberal news organizations are obsessed with trying to get Republican politicians to commit to accepting the result of the 2022 election before it happens,” Diehl said in the statement. “I think every American — Democrat and Republican alike — should be concerned about any insufficiency, error, or external force that could influence the outcome of an upcoming election.”
He also said that any inferences that he would break the law to protest the results of the election are “demeaning, offensive, and most of all categorically false.”
Healey told the Times that “we will always accept the will of the people.”
On Monday, campaign manager Jason Burrell said Diehl is “doubling down on the Trump playbook of lies, division, and election denial.”
“The choice in this election between Trumpism and progress has never been more clear,” Burrell said.
Healey has led Diehl by wide margins in public opinion polls. That’s in part because the Trump brand is toxic in Massachusetts.
The former president remains deeply unpopular in Massachusetts, according to a recent Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC10 Boston/Telemundo poll of likely midterm voters. Two-thirds of the 500 likely voters surveyed held an unfavorable view of him, the poll found. And among the 17 percent who said they have not made up their mind in the governor’s race, more than half said they hold an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
Matt Stout of the Globe staff contributed to this report.