Healey’s snub of Rausch hot issue in Senate race

MAURA HEALEY’S decision not to endorse Sen. Becca Rausch in her bid for reelection is fast becoming one of the more intriguing storylines of the election season.

The attorney general, the Democratic nominee for governor, has endorsed 17 of the 19 incumbent Democrats running for reelection in the Senate who are facing challengers. The only two she has not endorsed are Michael Brady of Brockton and Rausch.

At a debate on Monday sponsored by the Charles River Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rausch had a hard time explaining the political snub.

“This is such a distraction from the real issues in the race,” she said, noting she has been endorsed by Senate President Karen Spilka and Sen. Will Brownsberger, the president pro tempore. She said she and Healey are aligned because of their shared values.

Chamber president Greg Reibman wouldn’t let it go, repeatedly asking for an explanation for the non-endorsement.

“I’m here to talk about what I’m hearing from my voters,” Rausch said.

Is it because you’re not well liked? Reibman asked.

Rausch said she has been endorsed by half the Senate and every Democratic state rep in the district. She said she has also been endorsed by local leaders from every single town in the district.

Rausch’s Republican rival, Rep. Shawn Dooley of Norfolk, was happy to offer his thoughts.

“I think it’s telling. I think relationships matter,” he said, adding that he has known Healey for years and gives her a hug whenever he sees her. He said he also has had good relationships with the last two governors, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Deval Patrick.

“That’s one of the things that differentiates us,” Dooley said, “I think it speaks volumes about what sort of relationship she’ll have with the next administration if and when Maura Healey is our governor.” 

Dooley, who features smiley faces on his campaign signs, likes to talk about his endorsement by Baker and his unsuccessful bid to topple the pro-Donald Trump chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party. But Rausch keeps linking Dooley to Trump, saying he voted for him, possibly twice.

Dooley insists he did not vote for Trump twice, but he won’t confirm whether he voted for him once, as a November 2020 story in the Boston Herald suggested. “My opponent for whatever reason wants to run against Donald Trump,” he said. “She should have run for president.”

Reibman asked the two candidates their reaction to recent comments by Max Page, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who unloaded on state education leaders at a hearing on raising the MCAS scores needed to graduate.

“It struck me that we have a fundamental difference of views of what schools are for,” Page said at the hearing. “The focus on income, on college and career readiness speaks to a system … tied to the capitalist class and its needs for profit. We, on the other hand, have as a core belief that the purpose of schools must be to nurture thinking, caring, active and committed adults, parents, community members, activists, citizens.” 

Rausch chose not to answer, instead focusing on her efforts to increase funding for education. Pressed by Reibman, Rausch eventually said: “I haven’t assessed that particular comment.” 

Dooley said he doesn’t agree with Page, and urged Rausch to release the questionnaire she filled out to receive the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

“No, I completely disagree with Mr. Page and his assessment that capitalism is this evil bogey monster,” he said.

Dooley said voters should elect a Republican like him, particularly at a time when it looks like Democrats may take full control of Beacon Hill with the exit of Baker.

“We need some balance. We need some choices,” he said.

Rausch said Dooley’s kind of balance is not what the state needs.

“The choice in this race is crystal clear,” she said. “It’s a choice between ineffective right-wing extremism and disinformation versus my proven track record of successfully delivering win after win after win for my district.”




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