September 24, 2022


  • Popular Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is not running for re-election in 2022.
  • The two Republican candidates vying to replace him — Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty — are trailing Democratic candidate Maura Healey in early voting.
  • Neither is discouraged, however, and both spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation to discuss why they’re the best for the state and how they plan to maintain GOP control of the Massachusetts governor’s office.

Despite a popular outgoing GOP governor, Republicans in Massachusetts face an uphill battle to replace him with another conservative, but two candidates believe they are up to the task.

Governor Charlie Baker’s 69% approval rating puts him in a three-way tie for the most popular governor in the country, according Morning Consult, but announced in December that he would not seek a third term to focus on managing Massachusetts’ economy through the pandemic, NPR mentionted at that time. Although both potential Republican replacements — former state representative and U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl and political newcomer and entrepreneur Chris Doughty — trailing Democratic candidate and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey by about 30 points in recent Suffolk votingboth told the Daily Caller News Foundation that they are not afraid of the challenge and that it is extremely important that a Republican ends up governing the state house in November.

“The Massachusetts state legislature is among the most liberal in the nation, as is the judiciary and Maura Healey would be one of the most liberal governors in the country,” Doughty told DCNF. “Without a conservative check on the governor’s office, this would be San Francisco on steroids.”

“She’s a big-government ideologue who wants to take away the freedoms our state was built on,” Diehl told DCNF.

Healey has sued the Trump administration nearly 100 times as attorney general and has been accused of focusing on national culture wars instead of acting as a public servant for the people of Massachusetts. according WGBH, Boston’s local NPR channel.

Every time Healey participated in these “politically motivated lawsuits,” said Republican attorney Dan Shores, it meant “another drug dealer released from prison or another public official who commits an act of corruption or an executive who has been defrauded.” WBUR, another NPR affiliate in the Boston area; mentionted.

US Attorney Andrew Lelling and the left-leaning editorial board of the Boston Globe also criticized Healey for insufficiently prosecuting government corruption in the overwhelmingly Democratic state government, without ever indicting an elected official in the state, WGBH reported.

The Healey campaign did not respond to DCNF’s request for comment.

While both Doughty and Diehl agree that a Healey governor would spell disaster for Massachusetts, they disagree about the man who will do it.

Donald Trump-aligned Diehl appears to be the frontrunner right now, with a voting conducted in late June, showing him at 52 percent to Doughty’s 16 percent among Republicans, though the data is six weeks old and Doughty says his campaign has picked things up since then.

Diehl has far more political experience than Doughty. won office as a state representative in 2010 and, while unsuccessful, challenged Elizabeth Warren in 2018 for the US Senate. He says the experience helped him “build a really strong team across the state, and even though I didn’t beat Warren, I actually got more votes than the Democratic candidate for governor that cycle.”

Diehl grew up in Pennsylvania before moving to his wife’s hometown of Whitman, Massachusetts, where they own a small performing arts business. It is these credentials in both private business and government that Diehl’s supporters believe make him the best choice for governor.

“Geoff uniquely in this race has experience in both the private and public sectors that allows him to understand how various pieces of the puzzle fit together,” Diehl’s campaign manager Amanda Orlando told DCNF.

Diehl’s status as a small business owner also gave him a unique vantage point about how the COVID-19 restrictions were affecting business owners and ultimately prompted him to announce his candidacy last summer, even before Baker made it clear he would not will seek re-election.

“The pandemic has exposed his administration for following too much of the Democrats’ playbook. we had to arbitrarily wait for reopening, kids weren’t going back to school,” Diehl told DCNF, adding that “the first day we’d hire back any state employees who lost their jobs because of vaccine mandates, and the second day we’d fire anyone who thought she was good idea”.

Challenging Baker — a Republican Trump foe — helped Diehl win the former president’s endorsement, and Diehl’s campaign is made up of former Trump singers, notably including Corey Lewandowski, who managed parts of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

This week, Diehl’s campaign is flying in another staunch Trump ally, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, for a fundraising event, Diehl told DCNF.

But Doughty believes those connections to Trump make Diehl ineligible in New England. “He’s running an Alabama campaign in Massachusetts,” Doughty told DCNF. While signs show Trump is popular with the Massachusetts GOP, Republicans make up a small percentage of registered voters in the state, and the former president lost Massachusetts by a 2-to-1 margin in 2020, according to WBUR.

The Wrentham-based entrepreneur and young politician believes that where Diehl plays in the culture wars, his pragmatism and business acumen make him a good fit for Massachusetts.

“I will run the state like I run my business. I’m going to be very careful with the money – we overtax and overspend in Massachusetts and that makes us uncompetitive,” he told DCNF, also repeatedly asserting that his chops as a “fiscal conservative” outweigh Diehls.

“Deal voted for more spending in the state legislature than our Democratic governor [Deval Patrick] he supported when we had him,” Doughty told DCNF.

Doughty also promises to compromise with Democrats by having a “unifying view of the world.” according WBUR, which has drawn comparisons to other moderate Republicans who have had success in Massachusetts in the past, such as Baker and Mitt Romney.

“I’m not here to say bad things about other people or other parties,” Doughty told WBUR.

But without Baker’s name recognition, many pundits question Doughty’s ability to succeed in the Massachusetts GOP primary, when most of the state’s Republican voters are aligned with the pro-Trump wing of the party. according WBUR.

“It might be easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to get a moderate vote in a Republican primary” in Massachusetts today, Eric Fernstrom, a longtime Republican consultant, told WBUR. (RELATED: ‘Revenge’: GOP candidate launches unconventional line of attack to unseat Democrats)

While each faces his own challenges — Doughty immediately in the primary and Diehl in the general election — both men see national political trends and a potential “red wave” in their favor. The favors

Diehl noted the “Youngkin situation, where even in blue states or purple states you start to see that middle ground — including the 57% of unregistered voters in Massachusetts — looking at the country and saying, ‘You know what? The Democrats haven’t done it for us.”

For his part, Doughty told DCNF that “Geoff and I are pretty tied behind Maura, but what’s happened in the past in Massachusetts is that Republicans get ahead three or four weeks before the general election — then we start to we get the attraction and the attention of the voters.”

Whether a Republican can mount a real challenge to Healy in November remains to be seen, but the next step is the Sept. 6 party primary.

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