Republican lawyer Dan Shores will seek to challenge Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey next year, charging that she has made the office too overtly political, he said Thursday.
The founder of an intellectual property law firm said he wants to increase focus on the opioid crisis and cyber crimes, and faulted Healey for being “soft on crime.” In an announcement letter, Shores said he would emphasize “enforcing – not thwarting – our immigration laws” and would “make sure an individual’s right to bear arms … is protected.”
In taking on Healey, who was elected in 2014, Shores is up against a popular incumbent with a solid progressive base. The state’s last GOP attorney general was Elliot Richardson, who left office in 1969.
Healey has cut a national profile by challenging President Trump on a range of issues, from his ban on immigrants from heavily Muslim countries to election meddling by Russia.
Shores, who lives with his wife in Sandwich, said he decided to run “several months ago” after examining Healey’s record.
“I think the attorney general has politicized the office. It’s too politicized, probably the most politicized it’s ever been,” Shores said.
Aside from Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and a growing field of US Senate candidates atop the ticket, the state GOP has had difficulty fielding competitive candidates for other offices.
One other Republican, Bourne attorney James McMahon, has launched a campaign this year.
Asked for comment about Shores’s criticism, Healey political adviser David Guarino said, “Attorney General Healey is proud of her record of results standing up for the people of Massachusetts to advance economic security for all, to aggressively combat the opiate crisis and to protect people’s rights and the public safety of our communities.”
Calling himself “a Constitutional conservative in the spirit of the great John Adams,” Shores is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center.
After placing third in a four-way 2014 congressional primary race, Shores was appointed by Baker to the board of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2015.
Shores argues that Healey’s higher visibility has come at a cost to the state, criticizing Healey for not bringing more high-profile public corruption cases.
“I’m stunned at how clean and non-corrupt Massachusetts is,” he said in a phone interview.
“The office has certain resources that I think could be directed in a better way,” Shores said.