Diehl reverts to form

An upcoming fundraiser plays to Diehl's Trumpian base

When Geoff Diehl worked his way to a second-ballot endorsement for US Senate by the state Republican Party at its convention last month, some wondered where the fire-breathing Trump supporter went. The Whitman state rep who co-chaired Trump’s Massachusetts campaign never mentioned the man in the White House in his speech to delegates.

It felt, in some ways, like Diehl was working the typical move-toward-the-middle strategy of a general election campaign and doing so not just in a primary campaign, but in a battle for votes among the ultimate party insiders who form a small slice of the primary electorate. But with hard-core conservative delegates at the convention already likely in his pocket, it was probably a smart move to try to appeal to a wider swath of those gathered at the DCU Center in Worcester.

With Diehl appealing to the party’s right flank, he looks well positioned to win the GOP nomination in September if his two rivals, Beth Lindstrom and John Kingston, split the vote of those leaning toward the more somewhat more moderate Charlie Baker wing of the party.

The winner goes up against Sen. Elizabeth Warren in November.

But any thoughts that Diehl might continue to shave the sharp edges off his hard-bar conservative profile seemed to vanish this week with news of who’s coming to Massachusetts for a Diehl fundraiser later this month.

Paul LePage, the irascible Maine governor who famously once declared he was “Donald Trump before Donald Trump,” will headline a May 21 event for Diehl in Waltham.

“Yes, that Paul LePage,” writes Boston magazine’s Spencer Buell, “the grumpy and loose-lipped governor of Maine, who has spent his eight years in office barking about, among other issues, how black and Hispanic people from Lowell and Lawrence are responsible for his state’s drug problem, and the ever-present threat of out-of-state drug dealers impregnating ‘young white girl[s]’ in Maine.”

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

While LePage may help Diehl rally his Trumpian base, he doesn’t seem like the best guy to help you make inroads with the more centrist suburban voters who can tip a statewide race.

But it should be quite a show in Waltham.