Nobody ever voted for William F. Galvin because of his charm.
Rather, the secretary of state’s main selling point is his record in office. Over almost 24 years, the so-called “prince of darkness” has been an effective leader for an office that manages elections, public records, historic preservation, securities regulation, and a hodgepodge of other duties.
On the basis of that steady hand, the Globe endorses Galvin for a seventh term on Nov. 6.
Galvin, who survived a spirited Democratic primary challenge from Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim in September, hasn’t always made it easy for his supporters. In the campaign’s only debate on, WGBH, he seemed sullen and took the low road, sniping at GOP candidate Anthony Amore for, horror of horrors, accepting honoraria while Amore was on a book tour.
Like Zakim, Amore is a serious opponent — something that’s hasn’t always been true for GOP undercard candidates. The director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than held his own in the debate, and managed to land some legitimate criticisms, knocking Galvin for his self-promotion in the election guide mailed to voters and raising questions about campaign donations from developers who receive tax credits from his office.
Since you asked: No, Amore wasn’t in charge of the museum’s security in 1990, when it suffered the world’s biggest art theft. But he is in charge of the museum’s efforts to secure the return the 13 purloined pieces.
Amore also faults Galvin for lacking a strategic plan. But the GOP hopeful would move the state in the wrong direction. For instance, Amore wants to institute voter ID requirements in Massachusetts, an idea Galvin rightly criticized. Mandating voter ID is a solution in search of a problem, and would only serve as an obstacle for voters. Likewise, Amore is sowing groundless fears when he tries to insinuate the state’s election system is insecure: Every vote in Massachusetts is recorded on a paper ballot, a crucial safeguard whose importance was on display last month during the Third Congressional District recount.
Galvin, in a term he hinted earlier this year might be his last, lists as priorities assuring that the 2020 census goes smoothly, and protecting the 2020 election. One needn’t like Galvin’s touchiness to feel confident he’ll get those jobs done.