I have spent much time in this column writing about the Governor and Lt. Governor’s race — but let’s talk today about the other names lining the state ballot this cycle.
The most exciting part about this election cycle in the Commonwealth is that the nominees in five of the six statewide races are women. This is the first time Massachusetts has had this many women running for statewide office, and it’s about time. In fact, all six nominees would have been women if the almost 30-year incumbent State Secretary of the Commonwealth had not decided to run for yet another re-election.
In the Attorney General race, former Boston City Councilor and Council President Andrea Campbell reigned supreme in the Democratic primary. Many in Western Massachusetts political circles have argued that Ms. Campbell won the nomination only because gubernatorial nominee Maura Healey endorsed her in the lead-up to the primary — an argument which, given Campbell’s lackluster political record prior to this race, may not be too far off the truth.
Regardless of party endorsement, Campbell boasts a strong set of qualifications. According to the Berkshire Eagle’s endorsement, “Ms. Campbell’s resume includes time as a legal services attorney with EdLaw, an employment attorney, general counsel at the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, and legal counsel to Gov. Deval Patrick.” Her motivations for running for the state’s top law-enforcement position are clear, too: She often references the tragedy of her brother’s death while incarcerated, endowing her campaign with enormous meaning and drawing attention to the awful conditions endemic to the prison system. It’s clear Campbell is qualified for the job, but can she beat her opponent?
Campbell will face Republican Jay McMahon, who ran unopposed in his primary. A little-known name in politics, McMahon believes that there is too much “wokeness” in the Attorney General’s office. On his campaign website, he promises to, among other things, “initiate ‘Extreme Prosecution.’” According also to his website, “laws are supposed to prevent the bad guys from doing bad things. Therefore, laws that prevent good guys from doing lawful things do not reduce crime, they in fact enhance crime.” While researching and participating in state politics, I have never seen a campaign website as unserious and utterly ridiculous as this one. McMahon is dangerous, and if a candidate as unserious about the position as he is were to win the election, our Commonwealth’s future would be very dark indeed. Thankfully, according to a recent UMass Amherst poll, Campbell is expected to electorally annihilate McMahon 58 percent to 33 percent.
Next up, the State Auditor’s position. The State Auditor’s is perhaps the least known of the statewide offices, but its race is one of the most important. According to the Massachusetts Auditor’s website, “the Office of [the] State Auditor (OSA) conducts audits, investigations, and studies to promote accountability and transparency, improve performance, and make government work better.”
Boston area State Sen. Diana DiZoglio won the Democratic primary race for the Auditorship despite her lack of Democratic Party endorsement. Her opponent, Chris Dempsey, who has never held an elected office and is possibly most famous for having led the effort to keep the 2024 Olympics out of Boston, was endorsed by the current state auditor, Suzanne Bump, and won the state party endorsement in June. Dempsey won the party establishment endorsement, but DiZoglio triumphed.
DiZoglio spent most of her primary campaign appealing to young, progressive voters in the state and capitalizing on already being an elected official from eastern Massachusetts. DiZoglio made headlines in 2018 when she broke a non-disclosure agreement on the Massachusetts House of Representatives floor in order to make a statement against NDAs. Since then, she has advocated in the legislature to support victims of NDAs. One of her campaign pitches was that as Auditor, she would audit the Massachusetts Legislature to root out the apparent corruption — corruption like the silencing she faced when she had to sign her NDA years ago. More on her auditor plan can be found here.
In the general election, DiZoglio faces fellow Italian American Anthony Amore, the head of security for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
I have one of DiZoglio’s lawn signs on my lawn back in Springfield, and they are the biggest lawn signs I have ever seen. She told me a couple months back at an event that she wanted a picture of her on the lawn signs, so voters understood that she was the Italian “woman” in the race. I like Sen. DiZoglio a lot and believe that she will use the full power of the Auditor’s office to seek and root out the corruption and systemic injustices within our state agencies.
I only know a little about Amore. I have yet to see him at a single event in the western part of the state throughout this campaign season — a fact perhaps reflective of commonly-held perceptions of the region’s importance. To be fair and honest, I had no clue who Amore was until I had to look him up to write this. I fully support DiZoglio.
Finally, in the Treasurer’s race, Deb Goldberg is running for re-election. Her only opponent is a Libertarian nominee, and third parties, like in the rest of the country, do not stand a chance in Massachusetts. I fully support her return to the office.
Also on the ballot are four questions. YES on Question One would establish an additional 4 percent state income tax on annual taxable income exceeding $1 million. I am voting yes because I believe that the wealthy need to pay their fair share.
YES on Question Two would expand access to dental insurance throughout the state and help begin to close healthcare inequities. I am voting yes on question two.
YES on Question Three expands the ability of retailers to sell alcoholic beverages. I am leaving this question blank because I am not of drinking age. A NO vote would not change any alcohol-related laws in the state.
Finally, Question Four. YES on Question Four would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive a driver’s license in the state of Massachuesetts. The Massachusetts legislature has already passed this law and it will take effect in July 2023. A yes vote would keep the law in place and a NO vote would repeal it. I believe in expanding access to citizenship and the resources one can receive under it, so I am voting yes on question four and encourage everyone else to do so as well.
This column is being published just a week before election day! Please plan to get to the polls any way you can on Nov. 8 and make your voice heard!