Primary guide: US Senate
Here’s a look at the candidates on the Sept. 4 primary ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.
Elizabeth A. Warren
The first woman elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, 69, is the state’s senior senator and is seeking her second term. A leading progressive figure in the Democratic party, she led the charge in 2010 to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is considered an authority on bankruptcy issues. She currently sits on the Committee of Armed Services, among others, and is one of the Senate’s most recognizable figures, evidenced by a hashtag-spawning episode last year (#LetLizSpeak), after Republican leaders silenced her on the floor for speaking out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his nomination proceedings.
Warren, of Cambridge, quickly cut a national profile upon taking her Senate seat in 2013, and was considered for Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election. She is often mentioned as a potential contender for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020.
Prior to the US Senate, Warren worked as a law professor for more than 30 years, including at Harvard Law School. Before attending law school at Rutgers University, Warren was an elementary school teacher.
In your first term as US Senator, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud? Nearly 40 million Americans have hearing loss. Most never get the hearing aids they need because tangled laws make them too expensive. So I had an idea to allow people to buy them over the counter, just like eye glasses. I worked with Republicans, and it was signed into law last year. Instead of costing thousands of dollars, hearing aids could soon be a few hundred. It will make a real difference.
If re-elected, what are your top two priorities for your second term? Infrastructure: I will continue to bring in federal dollars like $400 million for Green Line Extension, $200 million to dredge Boston Harbor and more for roads, bridges, mass transit, power, and flood resilience. Opioids: This crisis devastates families. My bill, the CARE Act, treats it like a critical public health emergency, delivering $100 billion over 10 years, including $119.5 million to MA.
What’s something about representing Mass. in the US Senate that you know now, but you didn’t know when you were first elected? Each day, I see the role Massachusetts plays as a leader and innovator. We’ve led on health care, gun control, scientific research, education and more. We have some of the strictest gun laws in the US and one of the lowest gun fatality rates as a result. We’ve developed innovative defense work and scientific research that’s critical to keeping us safe. It’s an honor to represent the Commonwealth.
Grade President Trump on his job performance so far. Please use the A-to-F scale and, if you prefer, include a short explanation. F. For starters, he tried to take health care away from millions of people and done nothing to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. We must make healthcare more affordable and implement real policies to prevent drug companies from jacking up costs - like letting Medicare negotiate prices.
You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? Bruce and I would go for fried clams and beer at Summer Shack, followed by a walk around Fresh Pond with our puppy Bailey!
Diehl, 49, has served as state representative since 2011, representing Whitman, Abington, and parts of East Bridgewater. A native of Pennsylvania, Diehl later moved to Whitman, his wife’s hometown, and served on the town finance committee. In 2014, Diehl was a leading advocate in the successful repeal of the ballot question that tied gas tax increases to inflation, and two years later, he served as co-chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts. Prior to running for office, Diehl worked as an account executive at a sign company.
In your professional life, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud?* I am proud to have led the grassroots movement to repeal automatic gas tax hikes—saving taxpayers $2 billion. More recently, I was successful in requiring legislators to be personally responsible for sexual harassment lawsuits. Taxpayers should not have to pay for the bad behavior of legislators.
If elected, what’s the first bill/initiative that you would push through the US Senate, and how would it benefit state residents? I have developed plans to help veterans, revive the fishing industry, and fight the opioid epidemic. I’ll file legislation to address these problems and help Massachusetts businesses including repealing the medical device tax.
What are the two greatest differences between you and your primary opponents? Please be specific. I’m the only candidate with a proven track record on lowering taxes by successfully repealing automatic gas tax hikes fighting against illegal immigration. I’ve put money in your wallets while one opponent has raised hundreds of fees and another pushed for a financial boondoggle that would have cost taxpayers $10 billion. I’m also the only candidate who has defeated an entrenched Democrat.
Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale and, if you’d like, include a short explanation. When it comes to the economy, he receives an A. Eighty percent of MA residents have received a tax break. We have nation-leading low unemployment and many people have received bonuses or raises. Moreover, the state has $1.2 billion in extra revenue.
You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? I would visit a senior center. They always have great input and sage advice.
The Winchester businessman spent 16 years at the Affiliated Managers Group, a global asset management company that handles more than $700 billion in assets, according to his website. He founded Better For America, a group of establishment conservatives who aimed to support a third-party presidential candidate against President Trump in the 2016 election. Kingston, 52, is also the founder of the Sword and Spoon Group, “an umbrella organization of for-profit and not-for-profit partnerships,” according to its website.
In your professional life, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud?* I’m most proud of helping to create good-paying jobs in Massachusetts. When I started at my company, we had under 20 employees, by the time I retired it had grown into an organization that employs hundreds of Bay Staters. When elected, I’ll do everything I can to create jobs and opportunities for the people of our state.
If elected, what’s the first bill/initiative that you would push through the US Senate, and how would it benefit state residents? Term limits. For too long, career politicians have controlled Washington. It’s time for our elected officials to start working for the people again.
What are the two greatest differences between you and your primary opponents? Please be specific. I’m the only outsider in this race. Unlike my opponents, I have never taken a paycheck from taxpayers. In fact, I know what it’s like to write a paycheck. And, I’m the only candidate in this race that can beat Elizabeth Warren.
Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale and, if you’d like, include a short explanation. “I” – incomplete. I will continue to support any policies that are good for the Bay State and oppose any policies that are bad for Massachusetts.
You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? I find the nearest doors to knock on. I have focused on taking my message directly to voters. Grassroots campaigning has – and will continue to be – a key part of our campaign.
Beth Joyce Lindstrom
A longtime Republican activist, Lindstrom, 57, was the first female executive director of the state Republican party. She has held roles in state government, including as director of the Massachusetts State Lottery and director of consumer affairs and business regulation under then-Governor Mitt Romney. Lindstrom, who lives in Groton, also was Scott Brown’s campaign manager during his 2010 special-election win over then-Attorney General Martha Coakley. She currently owns a salon and day spa in Groton.
In your professional life, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud? Being named the first female Executive Director of the Lottery and serving as a member of Governor Romney’s cabinet. As Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation reducing unnecessary regulations, created a high school financial literacy program and saved our citizens millions of dollars by introducing competition to the state’s auto insurance market, which lowered rates for drivers.
If elected, what’s the first bill/initiative that you would push through the US Senate, and how would it benefit state residents? First, to permanently repeal the medical device tax. This on-again, off-again tax targets an industry that is crucial to the Massachusetts economy and produces a constant stream of life-saving innovations. The Commonwealth alone, the medical device industry includes more than 200 firms that directly employ more than 15,000 workers; supporting countless other local businesses and providing jobs.
What are the two greatest differences between you and your primary opponents? Please be specific. I am a small business owner, not a politician. Rep. Diehl has run for three different offices in three years. He accepted a legislative pay raise after voting against it. John Kingston left the Republican Party in 2016 to protest Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. Now he’s posturing as a pro-Trump Republican. He has a credibility issue. I also differ in the fact that I show up to debates.
Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale and, if you’d like, include a short explanation. Since I am seeking to replace Senator Warren; she receives an ‘F’ because she has no major legislative accomplishments, and is hyper-partisan. As Senator, I do not work for Donald Trump, I work for the people of MA; ‘A-’ for his work on the economy but for conduct he would get a ‘needs improvement’.
You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? I run a small business in my hometown of Groton. We employ 8 people, and recently expanded into a new space in the center of town. Whenever I have some unscheduled time, you can find me working there.
Read more from the Globe about this race and its candidates:
An asterisk (*) notes campaign representatives said they filled out the survey questions on behalf of the candidates.
The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia and Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff.
It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.