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Andrea Campbell elected state’s first Black woman attorney general, AP projects

Andrea Campbell, projected to be the next Massachusetts Attorney General by the AP, laughs while speaking to attendees of the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s Election Night.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell is set to win the race for attorney general, defeating Republican Jay McMahon, the Associated Press projects.

Campbell’s projected win would make her the first Black woman elected attorney general in Massachusetts.

Speaking to an audience of supporters at an election night party in Boston on Tuesday, Campbell called it a “history-making night” for Democrats.

“[This is] the first time you have elected a woman of color and a Black woman to serve as attorney general in Massachusetts,” Campbell said. “We don’t just say representation matters, we are showing it, and that history and responsibility is not lost on me.”


Campbell declared herself the winner less than an hour before the AP announced its projection that she would defeat McMahon late Tuesday night. Her speech was briefly interrupted by a wave of cheers that rang out from the back of the room to the balconies.

“I will come to work every day with joy, hope, possibility, integrity, and accountability to you the people,” she said. “I look forward to getting to work for a more fair and just Commonwealth.”

Hours before voting stations closed at 8 p.m., Campbell spent part of Election Day rallying alongside other Democratic women at Santarpio’s Pizza in East Boston, according to photos posted on social media.

The group included outgoing Attorney General Maura Healey, who won the race governor Tuesday, according to AP projections; Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who was projected to become lieutenant governor; Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who is seeking reelection; Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; and other women holding local, state, and federal office.

“Testing out how many elected women you can fit in a single photo!! Happy Election Day from Santarpio’s!” Boston City Councilor Kenzie Bok wrote in a post that was retweeted from Campbell’s account.


Campbell posted a photo on Twitter showing herself smiling alongside Driscoll, Healey, and US Representative Katherine Clark, who is seeking reelection.

“Ladies who lead,” Campbell wrote in the tweet, punctuating the message with an emoji depicting a dancing woman. “Here we go!”

In another photo, Campbell stood between Clark and US Representative Ayanna Pressley, who is seeking a third term in the House.

McMahon was also out across the region Tuesday, voting with his family, speaking to voters in Saugus and Bourne, and giving television interviews, according to his Facebook page.

“Everywhere I go in the Commonwealth, we have a crime wave right now, and my opponent, of course, is for defunding the police,” McMahon told reporters in Bourne, according to video posted to his page. As a Boston city councilor, Campbell had advocated for reducing the police budget and restructuring the department.

“It’s not playing out well in the media; it’s not playing out well in all the other people, all the voters across the Commonwealth,” McMahon said. “Everywhere I go, people are listening to our message. They want law enforcement; they want public safety.”

McMahon also posted a tweet Tuesday morning.

“Polls are now open. Please be sure to vote today!” it said.

McMahon retweeted a supporter, whose profile identifies him as Tim Shea of Dedham, who said he had voted for McMahon and a slate of other Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and the US Congress.

“We need Common Sense Policies to Save Commonwealth of MA!!” he wrote.


Campbell campaigned on a promise to reform the justice system and expand economic opportunity, both issues that underpinned her legal career and tenure as president of the Boston City Council.

The platform, she said, is shaped by both professional and personal experience. The 40-year-old mother of two grew up without parents for the first eight years of her life, after her father was arrested and sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence when Campbell was an infant, and her mother died in a car crash driving to visit him in jail. Campbell’s twin brother died at 29 of an autoimmune disease while in state custody awaiting criminal charges, and she has long criticized the “school-to-prison pipeline” she says caused their lives to diverge.

Campbell’s vision for the office stands in stark contrast to the harder-line proposals of McMahon, a Cape Cod lawyer. The 68-year-old father of five has stuck closely to the traditional GOP stance, positioning himself as pro-police and against what he called “illegal immigration.” McMahon has also spoken openly about his own struggles: after losing his son to an opioid overdose in 2008, the career litigator became a dedicated advocate for ending the opioid epidemic.

“I never want another family to go through what ours has suffered. I want justice for [my son] Joel, justice for victims of other crimes and to make sure the purveyors of these poisons end up behind bars,” McMahon said in a recent statement, adding that he has visited Boston’s “Methadone Mile” to “listen to those living along this stretch and find out what needs to be done to help them.”


A Suffolk University poll from last month found Campbell with a 20-point lead over McMahon. She has carried the momentum from her triumph in the competitive September Democratic primary, which helped build her name recognition statewide, and since then has outspent his campaign by more than $160,000. McMahon did not have an opponent in the GOP primary.

Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Ivy Scott can be reached at ivy.scott@globe.com. Follow her @itsivyscott. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him @jeremycfox.