A tough night for Wu, Warren, and progressive insurgents
TUESDAY’S PRIMARY MAY help solidify the state’s deep blue standing, with Maura Healey one step closer to dislodging Republicans from the only foothold they’ve had in major Massachusetts offices. But the election also highlighted something often lost in the caricatures of the state as a haven of hard-left political orthodoxy: The center of gravity in Massachusetts often rests with left-of-center Democrats who don’t travel in the most progressive lane in contested primaries.
That was in evidence up and down the statewide ballot, starting with Healey’s uncontested victory for governor after progressive state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz dropped out of the race in June. In her victory speech last night, Healey name-checked outgoing Republican Gov. Charlie Baker not once, but twice, sending a clear signal to more middle-of-the-road Baker voters that she’s looking to win their support.
As Politico’s Lisa Kashinsky points out this morning, it was a total drubbing for lefties, with every candidate endorsed by the groups Progressive Massachusetts or Our Revolution going down to defeat – or bailing out of their races before even getting to primary day. As CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports, it was also rough sledding for criminal justice reformers in several races for district attorney.
The biggest loss of the night for an elected official who was not on the ballot may have been suffered by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. The mayor, who has often spoken of the “urgency” of going bold on everything from transportation to climate policy, has shown a similar willingness to dive head first into other political races, putting her cards on the table in contests where other pols might keep them closer to the vest.
The race didn’t divide neatly along ideological lines, with Healey, Sen. Ed Markey, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley supporting Campbell in what became something of a proxy battle of progressive political might against Warren and Wu.
Wu also found herself tangled up – with lots of other progressive pols – in the ugly Suffolk County district attorney’s race. She had endorsed challenger Ricardo Arroyo, but pulled back her support in the face of a years-old allegation of sexual assault against him.
Tensions with current DA Kevin Hayden surfaced as soon as Wu announced her endorsement of Arroyo in May. “If Mayor Wu believes a novice attorney with zero public safety experience should be the top law enforcement officer in the county, that’s her choice,” a Hayden spokesman said at the time. “We’re confident voters will disagree.”
Even in rescinding her endorsement of Arroyo last month, Wu took a swipe at Hayden. “I continue to have serious concerns about Mr. Hayden’s judgment in prosecuting cases, his handling of media scrutiny of pending cases and his conduct in office,” she said in her statement. Hayden has faced his own controversy over reports that he was prepared to broom any charges against a Transit Police officer involved in a coverup involving a traffic stop with a Hispanic Black man.
Wu had made it clear that her values aligned more closely with Arroyo’s, but jumping into the race set her up to potentially have to help manage public safety and crime issues in Boston alongside a DA she has voiced strong criticism of. That’s now the situation following Hayden’s victory on Tuesday.
– In other Democratic primary statewide races, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll defeated two rivals to win the race for lieutenant governor, Sen. Diana DiZoglio beat Chris Dempsey in the race for auditor, and Secretary of State William Galvin easily defeated Tanisha Sullivan in his quest for an eighth four-year term. Read more.
Tough times for reformers: It was a tough primary election night for reform-minded district attorney candidates. Ricardo Arroyo was defeated by Kevin Hayden in the Suffolk County DA’s race, Berkshire incumbent Andrea Harrington was ousted by Timothy Shugrue, and Shannon McMahon lost to incumbent Bristol DA Thomas Quinn. Read more.
Diehl vs. Healey: Geoff Diehl, who was backed by former president Donald Trump, defeated first-time candidate Chris Doughty in the Republican primary for governor. Dealey, who had $16,696 in his campaign account at the end of August, moves on to face Attorney General Maura Healey, who had no challenger in the primary and ended August with $4.7 million in her campaign account.
– Trump, who on Monday night praised Diehl as the only conservative in the race for governor and promised he would rule the state “with an iron fist,” is likely to play a prominent role in the race. Healey sued the Trump administration nearly 100 times, often in conjunction with other states. Read more.
Miranda moving to Senate: In the five-person race to succeed Sonia Chang-Diaz of Boston in the Massachusetts Senate, Rep. Liz Miranda emerged with the win. Rep. Nika Elugardo came in second, followed by former state senator Dianne Wilkerson, retired housing official Miniard Culpepper, and activist James Grant. No Republican is running for the seat. Read more.
Riders are riding but taking fewer trips: MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said the transit authority has won back all of its regular riders, but they are not taking as many trips as they did previously. He made that observation as he showcased repair work on the closed Orange Line, where he said 59 percent of the planned work is done. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The Washington Post reports that documents seized from former president Donald Trump’s home included top-secret files related to foreign government nuclear weapon capability.
The Democratic Essex DA’s race between state Rep. Paul Tucker and James O’Shea remains too close to call. (Salem News)
Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux declares victory in the Democratic primary for Bristol County sheriff, even as the race appeared tight. He will take on Sheriff Thomas Hodgson in November. (Standard-Times)
The Springfield Republican’s Ron Chimelis analyzes what went wrong in Sen. Eric Lesser’s campaign for lieutenant governor and what Lesser’s future may hold.
Senate races: State Rep. Jake Oliveira of Ludlow wins the Democratic primary for the state Senate seat that Lesser is vacating. (MassLive) YWCA executive Robyn Kennedy defeats Worcester Mayor Joe Petty to win the Democratic primary for the state Senate seat from Worcester now held by Sen. Harriette Chandler. (Telegram & Gazette) Rep. Paul Mark wins the Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by Sen. Adam Hinds. (Berkshire Eagle)
House races: Political newcomer Shirley Arriaga, a teacher and Air Force Reserve veteran, upsets Chicopee city councilor Joel McAuliffe to win the Democratic primary for the 8th Hampden state House seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Wagner. (MassLive) Rep. Sarah Peake easily turned back a challenge from Jack Stanton (Cape Cod Times), while Rep. Tommy Vitolo did the same in his race against Raul Fernandes. (Patch) Priscila Sousa won the Democratic nomination for the new majority-minority seat in MetroWest. (MetroWest Daily News) Chris Worrell won the Democratic primary race to replace Liz Miranda. (Dorchester Reporter)
Juul, the e-cigarette company, agrees to pay $438.5 million to settle a multistate lawsuit alleging the company aggressively marketed its vape products to teens. (Mashable)
A Berkshire Eagle editorial looks at the long road back for arts organizations.
Experts worry about how New England’s energy grid will hold up this winter. (USA Today Network)MEDIA
According to reports, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is preparing to stop producing its print edition. (Media Nation)