Diehl reverts to form

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.”

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.

MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

The Senate passed legislation that would revamp the state education aid formula to make good on funding promises made in the 1993 education reform law. (CommonWealth)

The Senate Ways and Means budget proposes a 10 percent increase in funding for regional transit authorities along with a directive to the MBTA to lay out a plan for speeding up service on the Providence and Fairmount commuter rail lines using electrification and high-level platforms. (CommonWealth) The Senate Ways and Means budget proposal has a focus on education (MassLive)

Gov. Charlie Baker goes slow on smart meters. (CommonWealth)

A Globe editorial applauds the Legislature for moving Massachusetts closer to a statewide law banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21. A Herald editorial opposes the move.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Framingham city councilors are criticizing Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s proposed budget increase for her office which includes at least five new full-time positions. (MetroWest Daily News)
The Hampshire Council of Governments, ostensibly a successor to county government, says it is running a big deficit and suggesting cities and towns should pick up the tab. So far, city officials say the claim is nonsense. (MassLive)

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia’s FY19 budget proposal would eliminate the pay-as-you-throw trash program and get rid of the despised “purple bags.” (Herald News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

“What Happened to Alan Dershowitz?” is the headline of a Politico piece about the liberal-leaning legal scholar who has become a defender of all — or most — things Trump.

A senior White House official reportedly dismissed Sen. John McCain’s opposition to the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA director, saying derisively, “He’s dying anyway.” (Washington Post)

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly drafted a letter of resignation Wednesday after President Trump berated her in a tirade in front of the entire cabinet for what he perceives as her inability to secure the nation’s borders. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

Secretary of State Bill Galvin says he’ll have one of his staffers investigate reports that other staffers were doing work for his reelection campaign while on the state clock. Galvin’s primary challenger, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, says there’s “no way” people can trust an internal review of the issue conducted by Galvin’s office. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Thousands of pieces of undelivered mail, mostly for Roslindale residents, were found in the back of an abandoned SUV sitting in a Weymouth tow lot for more than a month. (Patriot Ledger)

A new investment report shows that four states attracted 80 percent of venture capital funds in the first three months of the year,l with Massachusetts ranking second behind California and just ahead of New York. (U.S. News & World Report)

EDUCATION

Salem State University implements hiring freeze after May 1 enrollment numbers show a 5 percent drop. (Salem News)

Newton school officials have fired a Newton South High School baseball coach after he was arrested on child sex abuse charges by Waltham police. (wicked Local)

A new report says nearly half of all state community colleges and a third of those attending public four-year colleges and universities can’t consistently afford food and housing. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

State officials said at least one child has been diagnosed with typhoid fever at a Quincy day care center. (Patriot Ledger)

Nurses at Berkshire Medical Center say they will accept a hike in health care premiums if the hospital agrees to staffing level requirements sought by the nurses. (Berkshire Eagle)

All but one state — Hawaii — had increases in the rates of depression diagnoses from 2013 to 2016, with New England having among the highest rates in the country. (U.S. News & World Report)

TRANSPORTATION

Martha’s Vineyard ferry trips were canceled more than 500 times in the first four months of the year. (MassLive)

The Herald reports that Uber was specifically warned by state officials not to boost prices during an early March nor’easter, but did so anyway.

Gov. Charlie Baker says the Lynn-to-Boston ferry won’t run this summer. (Lynn Item)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

What’s the best bet on the state’s wind procurement? The bidders seem to think two awards of 400 megawatts each is the way to go. (CommonWealth)

The US House has passed a bill to open up a national nuclear waste repository and give priority for disposal to older plants such as Pilgrim. (Patriot Ledger)

CASINOS

More and more lottery winners in Massachusetts are choosing to remain anonymous. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A lawyer was arrested and charged with smuggling drugs into the Plymouth County Correctional Facility the same day a corrections officer at the state prison in Norfolk was arrested on the same charges in unrelated incidents. (Patriot Ledger)

The owner of a Roxbury “sober home” was charged with plying clients there with drugs in exchange for sex. (Boston Herald)