US Representative Seth Moulton, who muscled his way into Congress four years ago by upsetting a seasoned Democratic incumbent, is backing Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim in his primary challenge to six-term Secretary of State William F. Galvin.
The endorsement, Moulton’s first foray into a statewide race in Massachusetts this year, underscores the growing number of calls from many corners of the Democratic party for younger voices to carry its mantle.
In a statement Wednesday, Moulton said that Zakim, 34, would bring “fresh ideas” to an office responsible for, among many other things, overseeing elections.
“Amidst the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict voting access and voter protections, we need a state leader who will be a national leader on protecting our fundamental right to vote, and that’s what I believe Josh can do,” Moulton said.
“It’s on us to encourage the next generation of leaders to step up to participate,” he added, “and that starts with voting.”
Moulton, a Salem Democrat, has remained neutral in primaries involving fellow members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation. But the Marine Corps veteran has also cultivated a growing national profile by building a network of fellow veterans to run for US House seats.
Moulton has pointed to his victory over John Tierney in 2014, when several elected officials had endorsed the congressman. “A lot of people told me [then] that I had no right to do that . . . and that’s wrong,” Moulton said in a February WBUR interview. “We need to encourage more people to participate, now more than ever.”
Zakim, a three-term councilor, has pitched himself as bringing new experience to the office and has promised to push for changes to allow Election Day voter registrations. He said he was honored by Moulton’s endorsement.
“Many of us look up to Seth for his willingness to take on tough fights, even when that means challenging the status quo,” Zakim said. “He has set a great example for all of us in public service.”
Galvin, 67, defends his record, noting that he has been pushing back against President Trump.
Brian McNiff, a Galvin campaign spokesman, on Wednesday pointed to the Brighton Democrat’s decision to balk at providing voter registration information to a controversial panel Trump created to investigate allegations of voter fraud in 2016.
Galvin had also accused the Trump administration of making moves that could “sabotage” the 2020 US Census in Massachusetts after the federal agency proposed asking questions about people’s immigration status.
Moulton himself sent Galvin a note thanking him for his stance, McNiff said.
McNiff said that Moulton also gave Galvin a courtesy call to say he would be endorsing Zakim due to his desire to support younger candidates. A Moulton spokesman confirmed the congressman called Galvin Wednesday afternoon but said he did not know what they discussed.
“He has a record of standing up to President Trump,” McNiff said of Galvin.Matt Stout can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout.