Ben Downing ends run for governor

Former state senator says campaign is running out of money 

FORMER DEMOCRATIC state senator Ben Downing on Tuesday ended his campaign for governor, citing inadequate financial resources.  

Unfortunately, we simply do not have the financial resources to continue,” Downing said in a statement. “While it’s painful to admit, that reality has brought this chapter to a close.” 

Downing, 40, a Pittsfield native now living in East Boston, launched a run for the Democratic nomination for governor in February. Before that, Downing had spent a decade in the state Senate, then took a job working for the solar energy company Nexamp in 2016.  

He faced primary competition from Harvard professor Danielle Allen and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz. Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey has not yet announced whether she will get in the race, but she is widely expected to make a decision soon, now that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has said he won’t run for reelection.  

According to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Downing raised around $460,000 this year. As of November 30, he had just $33,000 left in his campaign account. In comparison, Allen had $386,000 in the bank, Chang-Diaz had $198,000, and Healey had $3.3 million. 

For everything there is a season,” Downing said in his statement. “For this campaign, that season has come to a close.” 

Downing said during his campaign, “We built a coalition that lifted up the voices of those too often ignored. We came up with real solutions to meet the challenges facing Massachusetts families and reshape our shared future. In a year that took a lot out of all of us, we grew stronger at the broken places.” 

Downing did not say what he plans to do next, other than spending time with his young sons Mac and Eamon, but he said he will continue working to advance his ideas, particularly in addressing climate change. “Though my name will not be on the ballot next year, I will keep working for the principles that defined this campaign,” Downing said. “Massachusetts is prosperous, but we must ask ‘for whom?’ and reckon with the reality that the answer is for far too few. Massachusetts is innovative, but we must ask ‘to what end?’ and reckon with the fact that we are falling far short on the defining issues of this generation—most notably the climate crisis.” 

Meet the Author

Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

“It is not a single political party that stands in the way, but a culture of complacency that too often prioritizes the comfort of those in power over addressing the challenges of those in need,” Downing continued. “Until that dynamic changes, our work is not done and you’ll find me standing shoulder to shoulder with anyone striving to build a Massachusetts that works for everyone, everywhere.” 

Chang-Diaz issued a statement calling it an honor to have been in the race with Downing. “Ben Downing has been a champion for people across Massachusetts throughout his whole career, and he’s carried that into this race for Governor every day,” Chang-Diaz said. “I’m grateful for his continued bold work and leadership on solar energy and climate change, and most recently for raising up critical issues of justice and equity on the campaign trail.”