Auditor candidates both claiming to be outsiders

Dempsey, DiZoglio spar over who has the edge

THE TWO DEMOCRATIC candidates for state auditor are both claiming to be the outsider in the race and insisting they have the edge heading toward the September primary.

Chris Dempsey, a first-time candidate, previously headed the organization Transportation for Massachusetts and helped lead the opposition to hosting the 2024 Olympics in Boston. He bases his positive assessment of the auditor’s race on the success he had at the state Democratic Party’s convention, where he edged Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen by a margin of 53-47 to win the party endorsement and drew support from key areas across the state. 

Suzanne Bump, who has served as state auditor since 2011, endorsed Dempsey and appeared with him on stage at the state convention. 

Kate Foster, Dempsey’s campaign manager, pointed out that he won a majority of the delegates in the Berkshires and the three western-most Senate districts. He also won both Senate districts representing Worcester, the district representing Fall River, every Senate district in MetroWest, and all six Senate districts representing Boston.

“Our second-best-performing Senate district in the entire state was the Second Suffolk (currently represented by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who is mounting a campaign for governor), one of the few majority-minority Senate districts in the Commonwealth,” Foster said. “It’s never easy to win the convention as an outsider, but Chris’s track record of public leadership is resonating with the grassroots base of the party and with voters who will show up in September.” 

Doug Rubin, a political consultant working as an advisor to the DiZoglio campaign, said the senator has the edge because she has more campaign cash than Dempsey ($554,771 to $357,482 as of May 31) and the support of more than a dozen labor unions.

Her fundraising advantage isn’t as big as it appears, however. Dempsey as a first-time candidate started from zero, while DiZoglio could tap $168,926 she had built up in her Senate account. Removing that headstart, DiZoglio has raised only about $30,000 more than Dempsey through the end of May. 

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“It’s not surprising that Chris Dempsey, who is supported by many political insiders, won the convention,” Rubin said in a statement. “What was surprising is that Diana DiZoglio, who has taken on the insiders repeatedly in support of victims of harassment and working families, got 47 percent of the vote against the insider’s candidate. Diana was humbled by the outpouring of support she received at the convention, given her repeated calls for more transparency and accountability from Beacon Hill insiders.”

Rubin also scoffs at the Dempsey camp’s “silly” portrayal of the convention results. “Any campaign or candidate that thinks results from the Democratic convention are representative of primary elections in Massachusetts is either delusional or not paying attention to history. Plenty of recent candidates have won the convention and lost the primary,” he said