Massachusetts Democrats gather for state party convention

Massachusetts Democrats gather for state party convention

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP)  — Massachusetts Democrats gathered in Worcester for their state party convention Saturday as they seek to regain the governor’s office and retain control of virtually every other source of political power in the state.

Attorney General Maura Healey and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz are both hoping to win the top office in November, but they must first go head-to-head in the fall primary. Healey won the party’s endorsement with 71% of the delegate votes Saturday, while Chang-Díaz won 29%, enough to get her name on the September primary ballot.

“I am so so humbled, and I promise you this: I will be a governor who sees everyone, who listens to everyone and who makes sure that every voice in this commonwealth is heard,” Healey said in accepting the endorsement.

Gov. Charlie Baker, who has remained popular with voters throughout his two terms, has decided not to seek a third four-year term. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito are the only statewide Republican officeholders in Massachusetts.

Healey and Chang-Díaz are both popular among the party faithful, although Healey has the benefit of having run statewide twice – winning both times. Healey also has a financial edge. As of the beginning of May, Healey had more than $4.9 million in cash in her campaign account, compared to just $353,000 for Chang-Díaz.

Either candidate would make history if they win in November. Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has never elected a woman as governor. Healey would also become the state’s first openly gay candidate elected governor and the nation’s first openly lesbian chief executive of a state, while Chang-Díaz would be the first Latina and Asian American to hold the office.

Whoever wins in September will face off against the victor of the Republican primary. That race pits former GOP state representative Geoff Diehl, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, against Wrentham business owner Chris Doughty.

A number of candidates are headed to the Sept. 6 primary after winning enough support Saturday to get their names on the ballot.

Tanisha Sullivan, a lawyer and president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, won the party’s nomination for secretary of the commonwealth, with backing from 62% of delegates. She will challenge incumbent William Galvin, who is seeking an eighth four-year term and won 48% of votes at the convention.

There are three Democratic candidates hoping to replace Healey as attorney general: Quentin Palfrey, a former assistant attorney general and 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor; workers’ rights attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan; and former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell, who recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor. All three won enough votes to make the primary ballot.

Two Democrats – transportation advocate Chris Dempsey and Methuen state Sen. Diana DiZoglio – are vying for the chance to succeed state Auditor Suzanne Bump who opted not to seek reelection. Both will be on the ballot, with Dempsey edging out DiZoglio for the party endorsement.

Three Democrats qualified to run for lieutenant governor: Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, state Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton and state Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow. Two others did not win enough support to make the ballot, state Sen. Adam Hinds of Pittsfield and Boston businessman Bret Bero.

Whoever wins that race will join with the winner of the Democratic primary for governor to run as a team in November.

Democratic state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has no Democratic challengers as she seeks a third four-year term.

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