Governor Deval Patrick backed Warren Tolman for attorney general on Thursday, an endorsement that Tolman's rival in the Democratic primary, Maura Healey, dismissed as further evidence of Tolman's ties to the Beacon Hill establishment.
"I am endorsing Warren because I know from his campaign and from a deep personal relationship with him that he will be an activist AG, and I am excited about that," Patrick said in a statement released by the Tolman campaign. "From gun safety to health care costs to consumer protection and civil rights, I want an AG who will not only enforce the law effectively, but also use the influence of the office strategically to improve the lives and prospects of Massachusetts people and small businesses. Warren Tolman will be that kind of leader."
Tolman, a former state senator, said he was honored to have the governor's backing.
"I'm proud to have his support, and as attorney general, I will share his values in fighting the tough fights and protecting our neighborhoods and communities," Tolman said.
Healey, a former assistant attorney general, responded by linking the governor to the political status quo, effectively turning the tables on Patrick, who ran as an outsider in 2006 and has long insisted that he is not part of the Beacon Hill power structure. Healey also noted that both Patrick and Tolman support casinos, which she opposes. "I knew when we got into this race that the Beacon Hill political establishment wasn't going to line up with me," she said in a statement. "I get that my opponent is from that world and sometimes the Beacon Hill club doesn't like when an upstart comes along, galvanizes the grassroots and threatens their chosen candidate. I also know I've taken some stances that upset the insiders, like casinos, which my opponent and his backers all desperately want."
Tolman and Patrick also share a top political adviser, Doug Rubin.