WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts Democrats gathered in Worcester for their state party convention on Saturday as they seek to regain the governor’s office and retain control of virtually every other source of political power in the state.
Attorney General Maura Healey and State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz both hope to win the top office in November, but they must face off first in the fall primary. Healey won the party’s approval with 71% of delegate votes on Saturday, while Chang-Díaz won 29%, enough to put his name on the September primary ballot.
“I am so humbled, and I promise you this: I will be a governor who sees everyone, who listens to everyone, and who makes sure every voice in this Commonwealth is heard,” Healey said as he accepted the endorsement. .
Gov. Charlie Baker, who remained popular with voters throughout his two terms, decided not to seek a third four-year term. Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito are Massachusetts’ only statewide Republican office holders.
Both Healey and Chang-Díaz are popular among party loyalists, although Healey has the advantage of having raced statewide twice – winning both times. Healey also has a financial advantage. By early May, Healey had more than $4.9 million in cash in his campaign account, compared to just $353,000 for Chang-Díaz.
Either candidate would go down in history if they won in November. Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has never elected a female governor. Healey would also become the state’s first openly gay candidate elected governor and a state’s first openly lesbian chief executive, while Chang-Díaz would be the first Latina and Asian American to hold the office.
Whoever wins in September will face the winner of the Republican primary. That race pits former GOP state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, against Wrentham business owner Chris Doughty.
A number of candidates head into the Sept. 6 primary after garnering enough support on Saturday to get their names on the ballot.
Tanisha Sullivan, a lawyer and president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, won the party’s nomination for secretary of the Commonwealth, with the support of 62% of delegates. She will challenge incumbent William Galvin, who is seeking an eighth four-year term and won 48% of the vote at the convention.
Three Democratic candidates are hoping to replace Healey as attorney general: Quentin Palfrey, former assistant attorney general and 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor; labor rights lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan; and former Boston City Councilwoman Andrea Campbell, who recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor. All three won enough votes to qualify for the primary ballot.
Two Democrats — transportation advocate Chris Dempsey and Methuen State Senator Diana DiZoglio — are vying for the chance to succeed state auditor Suzanne Bump who opted out of re-election. Both will be on the ballot, with Dempsey edging out DiZoglio for the party endorsement.
Three Democrats qualified to run for lieutenant governor: Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, State Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton, and State Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow. Two others did not garner enough support to make it to the polls, say Sen. Adam Hinds of Pittsfield and Boston businessman Bret Bero.
Whoever wins this race will join the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial primary to run as a team in November.
Democratic State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has no Democratic challenger as she seeks a third four-year term.