Massachusetts Gubernatorial Race Sneak Peek
Updated: Mar 27
With the announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2022, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ended his eight-year gubernatorial career. The Republican governor has held approval ratings as high as 78%, making him one of the most well-liked governors in the country and setting a high bar for his successor.
Photo Courtesy: Scott Eisen/Getty Images
In looking towards the contested 2022 gubernatorial election, there are four major players in the gubernatorial race as it stands, though seven more have filed paperwork to run. Of these main four, two are Democrats and two are Republicans.
Here’s a crash course on everyone you’ll need to know as the race heats up.
Photo Courtesy: Senator Chang-Diaz
From the Massachusetts Senate comes Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain. Now 43, she has served as a state senator since 2008, when she became the first Latina woman elected to that office. She has also worked as a teacher in Lynn and Boston. As a senator, Chang-Diaz has chaired the Joint Committee on Education and was lead negotiator for law enforcement reform passed in 2020. She currently serves as the Chair for legalized cannabis and racial equity. She received her bachelors in political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.
Chang-Diaz’s campaign is particularly focused against the Beacon Hill establishment. Announcing her candidacy in a video on Twitter, Chang-Diaz outlined her mission: “Too many leaders are more interested in keeping power than in doing something with it.”
In the text of that tweet, Chang-Diaz gave this as a platform: “I’m running for Governor because I’m tired of waiting for our government to live up to our hopes and our families’ needs. Real change starts with us.”
Photo Courtesy: Mass.gov
Like Chang-Diaz, current frontrunner Maura Healey is no stranger to Massachusetts politics. The 50-year-old South End resident has been Massachusetts’ Attorney General since 2015, along with being the first openly gay state Attorney General. Prior to attaining the position herself, Healey has worked for the Attorney General’s office, as the Chief of the Civil Rights Division and leading the bureaus of Public Protection and Business and Labor. Before that, she rose to become a Junior Partner at the Hale and Dorr law firm. Healey received a bachelor's in government from Harvard College and her law degree from Northeastern University. She also has a prominent athletic background.
In a video on her website, Healey stated “I’ve stood with you as the people’s lawyer and now I’m running to be your governor to bring us together and come back stronger than ever.”
Healey’s platform is primarily focused on building off existing infrastructure as opposed to the paradigm-shifting of her fellow candidates. When she announced her candidacy, she gave a simple mission statement: “If something’s working, then let’s keep with it. And if it’s not working, let’s figure out what we need to do.” She went on to say “...I’m the person that brings the right kind of skills, the right kind of perspectives, and the right kind of know-how to move us forward.”
One challenger dropped out of the race on February 15. Danielle Allen, 50, is a Cambridge resident and the Director of the Edmond J Sagra Center for Ethics at Harvard. Allen was the first black woman to run for a major party in Massachusetts. When announcing her candidacy, Allen addressed this, saying: “...leadership should be open to all. This was the first state to abolish enslavement, yet it has taken us this long to get to this day. It’s time to accelerate the pace of change.”
She cited the barriers to ballot access for non-traditional candidates as she bowed out of the race.
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Ebersole/Ebersole Photography LLC
A newcomer to the political world, Chris Doughty, 59, lives in Wrentham, and is the President of gear manufacturer Capstan Atlantic. He has a strong business background as a current partner in Capstan Inc and having previously worked as a Marketing representative at the Trammell Crow Company. Doughty studied economics at Brigham Young University and received his MBA from Harvard University. He is a self-described moderate Republican.
Doughty’s platform focuses heavily on job creation and economic growth. In a video statement, Doughty said “First and foremost, Massachusetts has become unaffordable for many of our residents. Going hand in hand with affordability is making sure that our economy fully rebounds and continues to grow. We need to protect our business and recruit high paying quality jobs to relocate here.”
Doughty went on to say “I want to help make Massachusetts better for all of us and, in a nutshell, that is why I’m running for governor.”
Photo Courtesy: Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe
Leading in Republican polls is Geoff Diehl, age 52. Diehl is a resident of Whitman, and the Director of Business for TRQ Auto Parts. Diehl received a bachelors in government and urban studies from Lehigh University. He is also the co-owner of the Boss Academy of Performing Arts. Previously, he was an executive at SignDesign and Poyant Signs. He has served as a state representative and ran for both U.S. and Massachusetts Senate. Diehl was also the co-chair for Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential Campaign in Massachusetts. The former president recently endorsed Diehl’s campaign.
Diehl supports small government and charter schools and opposes current COVID-19 restrictions and ending qualified immunity. In a YouTube video announcing his candidacy, Diehl said, “We need to back the blue and we need to reject the radical Democrats who want to end qualified immunity for all first responders.” he went on to say “It’s time…to re-empower the individual, it’s time to free our economy…to help our children overcome the damage inflicted by the government this past year,”
Prefacing his announcement, Diehl closed his pitch with this: “In a Diehl administration, everyone will be considered essential every day.”
With a myriad of candidates spanning the political spectrum and the end to Charlie Baker’s stable tenure, this primary will be the first contentious battle for Beacon Hill's top seat in years. Both sides of the aisle have fresh faced challengers and experienced politicos grappling for votes. Status quo-shakers like Chang-Diaz are counterbalanced by moderates like Healey. Right-wing Diehl faces middle-of-the-road Doughty.
With this selection and more potentially on the way, there will be a candidate for voters of all political stripes in a new chapter of the Massachusetts governorship.