Massachusetts Gubernatorial GOP Primary—Trump Extremist Geoff Diehl Gets the Nod September 11, 2022
Illinois, Maryland, and now Massachusetts. What do these three states in three different regions of the country politically have in common? For starters, these are strong “Blue” states. Two of these states, MD and MA, have popular GOP governors who are not running again in 2011, MD’s Larry Hogan and MA’s Charlie Baker. In states such as MD and MA where Democrats or independent-leaning voters constitute the overwhelming majority, GOPers manage to win gubernatorial races by appealing to these groups more than to the small Republican base. In MA, where only 9% of registered voters are in the “Red” camp, GOPers, including Bill Weld, Mitt Romney, and Charlie Baker have run and governed as moderates. They have successfully argued that they have to sit in the Governor’s mansion to serve as a check to the Democrats who have controlled the Bay State’s legislature since 1959 (nytimes.com, Epstein, 9/06/22). Using this moderate GOP campaign strategy, liberal MA has had a long habit of electing GOP governors. Since 1991, when Democrat Michael Dukakis retired, only “Team Blue” Deval Patrick has sat in the governor’s office on Boston’s Beacon Hill. GOPers have held the governor’s chair in MA for 24 of the last 32 years (cnn.com, Krieg, 9/06/22, nytimes.com, Epstein, 9/07/22). However, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, “the times, they have been a changing.” Since 2016, the GOP has become the party of hard- right/tin-foil hat Demagogue Donald. Even in “Blue” MA, GOPers vote for and now embrace candidates endorsed by Donald. MA Republicans have adopted as their litmus test “election denial.” “Election denial” is the false belief pushed by Donald that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. With 91% of the GOP primary vote counted, Geoff Diehl, a right-wing former state legislator whom Trump endorsed , has handily defeated his opponent Chris Doughty by an 11-point margin, 55.5%-44.5% (AP, nytimes.com, 9/07/22). Doughty, a centrist, self-funding Mormon businessman like Mitt Romney, argued that Diehl was running a campaign “targeted to Alabama voters” who could not win a general election in MA (nytimes.com, Epstein, desert.com, Scribner, 1/26/22). Diehl, like his patron Trump, supports “election denial.” Diehl’s pick for Lt. Governor Leah Cole Allen, is also a former state legislator. She was fired from her job as a nurse after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (nytimes.com, Epstein, 9/06/22). In the 11/2022 general election, GOPer Diehl will be facing Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey (nytimes.com, Epstein, 9/06/22). Let’s view this race.
Bethlehem, PA native Geoff Diehl (53) graduated from Lehigh University in 1992. He did advertising work in New York City and later did television production in Los Angeles, CA. In 2001, Diehl moved to Whitman, MA, his wife’s hometown. In Whitman, Diehl worked as a business development executive in the sign industry. He helped his wife successfully start and run a performing arts school , Boss Academy (bossacademy.net).
In 2010, Diehl ran for the 7th Plymouth House District (HD) and received the backing of former W Bush chief-of-staff Andrew Card and MA GOP Senator Scott Brown. Brown was the fellow who took the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat in a political upset earlier that year. In the 11/2010 general election, GOPer Diehl upset the Democratic incumbent by a 2.52% margin (Preer, 10/31/10, boston.com/news, Election 2010 Results MA 7th Plymouth HD). Diehl was re-elected to that post in both 2012 and 2014 (See MA 7th Plymouth Election Results, 2012 & 2014). In 2014, Diehl was a leading supporter of the successful ballot question to repeal the MA gas tax indexing law ( wickedlocal.com). In a 2015 special election for a State Senate seat, Diehl’s Democratic rival clobbered him by a 16.4 point margin (MA Special Election 2nd Bristol and Plymouth State Senate District ). In 2016, Diehl handily won re-election to his 7th House District with over 99% of the vote against a write-in candidate (2016 7th HD Election). In 2018, after winning the GOP primary, Diehl took on Dem U.S.. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren thrashed him by a 24% margin (cbsnews.com).
On 7/04/2021, Diehl announced he was running for Governor of MA. In 10/2021 Donald endorsed him. Diehl has been in Donald’s corner from the get-go. Diehl was a co-chair of Trump’s 2016 MA campaign and was a Trump delegate to the 2016 GOP National Convention (cbsnews.com, wiki). Former Trump adviser Cory Lewandowski is a strategist in Diehl’s gubernatorial campaign (cbsnews.com). Besides supporting Donald’s “election denial” obsession and constantly repeating it on the campaign trail, Diel has fought against the extension of mail-in voting. Trump opposed mail-in voting because Democrats, including many minorities, took advantage of this procedure. Diehl has additionally stated that he supports the 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning “Roe v. Wade.” “Roe” was the case that gave women bodily autonomy and the right to choose whether to have an abortion (See cbsnews.com). And rock-ribbed Trumper Diehl spent much of his primary and general election campaign railing against mask and vaccine mandates put in place to combat COVID-19. Diehl has joined the conservative push against local school boards. He has attacked these boards for advocating “critical race theory.” “Critical race theory” helped GOPer Glenn Youngkin win the VA Governor’s race in 2021. “Critical race theory” is a concept discussed in law school, but has not been taught in elementary schools (wbur.org/news, 9/06/22). Diehl is a mini-demagogue following in “King Demagogue” Donald’s footsteps.
Speaking during a television rally for Diehl, “Demagogue Donald” called him the “only conservative” running for MA governor. Trump declared, “Geoff is a proven fighter who successfully pushes back on the ultra-liberal extremists, and who has driven them a little bit wild too because they can’t figure him out, and he’ll rule your state with an iron fist and he’ll do what has to be done.” During that rally, Trump called Diehl’s primary rival Doughty the worst GOP epithet possible, an “establishment RINO (Republican in name only),” who will “do nothing but surrender to the left wing extremists” if elected (newsweek.com).” It was no surprise that Diehl won his GOP primary. In 5/2022, Diehl won his party’s endorsement at the state party convention taking 71% of the votes cast there by the GOP activists who attended this event (newsweek.com).
As previously mentioned, Diehl will now face MA Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey in the 11/2022 general election. Bethesda, MD native Healey’s (51) mother was a nurse. Her father was in the U.S. Public Health Service and an engineer (jfklibrary.org, 11/23/15). Healey received a 1992 undergraduate degree from Harvard College where she co-captained the women’s basketball team. After playing professional basketball in Austria for two years, she returned to the U.S. and received a law degree from MA’s Northeastern University in 1998 (Levenson, 8/26/14, boston.com/news, Schoenberg, 10/22/13, masslive.com). Healey clerked for a federal district judge where she prepared monthly compliance reports on the cleanup of Boston Harbor and assisted him with trials, hearings, and case conferences. Healey practiced law privately for more than seven years in a major law firm, and became a partner who dealt with commercial litigation (bostonglobe.com, 10/20/13). She served as a special assistant district attorney in Middlesex County where she tried drug, assault, and domestic violence cases (bostonglobe.com, 10/20/13). In 2007, then MA Atty. General Martha Coakley hired Healey to serve as chief of the Civil Rights Division. In that department, Healey challenged the anti-LGBTQ Defense of Marriage Act. Healey won the arguments for MA in the country’s first lawsuit striking down this law (advocate.com, 9/07/14). In 2012, Healey was made chief of the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau and later chief of the Business and Labor Bureau. In those offices, Healey oversaw 250 lawyers and staff members and dealt with Medicaid fraud, consumer protection, and civil rights issues (wbur.org, 10/21/13). When Coakley unsuccessfully ran for Governor against Charlie Baker in 2014, Healey ran to replace her as MA Atty. General and handily beat her GOP rival by a “y uu ge “ 25-point margin. Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List, the largest resource for pro-choice women in politics, endorsed her. Healey was re-elected MA Atty. General in 11/2018 with 69.9% of the vote (Rizzuto, masslive.com, 3/04/14, maurahealey.com/news, 1/2014, nytimes.com, 11/06/18, Election Results).
As MA Atty. General, Healey strongly backed gun control. She fought to enhance background checks and to better track stolen guns. She stands for banning the manufacturing of most assault rifles in MA (masslive.com/news, 4/2014, mass.gov/ago, 7/19/16). Healey advocates expanding access to abortion services in MA and ensuring that every woman in the Bay State has access to abortion regardless of her income, occupation, or place of residence (masslive.com, 5/2014). As Atty. General, Healey repeatedly challenged Donald’s travel bans against Muslims coming to the U.S. (slate.com, Saletan, 1/31/17, boston.com/news, 3/09/17). In 5/2017, after Donald fired FBI Director James Comey for looking into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Healey sent a letter signed by 20 Attorneys General across the U.S. to then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein calling for a special counsel to investigate this matter (boston.com/news, 5/11/17).
Should Healey win her gubernatorial election against Diehl, she would become MA’s first elected woman governor. Should Healey and Oregon’s Democrat Tina Kotek both win their races in 11/2022, they would become the first two open lesbian governors in the country (nytimes.com, Glueck & Astor, 9/07/22). Diehl has a very tough race ahead in MA. The Bay State has become a very solidly “Blue” state in the last nine presidential elections (Cohen & Cook 2022 Political Almanac). In both 2016 and 2020 Trump took only 32% of the vote in MA. A Suffolk University Poll published in 7/2022 gave Healey a 31- point lead over Diehl (newsweek.com). However, Healey and fellow MA Democrats must not laugh at Trumper Diehl. Healey worked under former Atty. General Martha Coakley. Coakley did very little campaigning when she ran to replace the late Ted Kennedy in the Senate. When she did campaign, she did it very poorly. She was upset by GOPer Scott Brown in 1/2010 who almost defeated Obamacare’s passage and did his best to hurt the rest of Obama’s progressive programs. Coakley then failed to beat Charlie Baker when she ran against him for governor four years later. The late Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was told by a MA voter when he once lost a local race he should have handily won, “Why Thomas, you have to ask them (your constituents) to vote for you,” or do the hard work of campaigning. Healey must pound the political pavement. She must put up ads, bumper stickers, and yard signs. She must not act like she is “entitled” to the governor’s job or has it in the “political bag.” She must run as if she is in a close race. Healey must not only flip this governor’s chair into the Democratic column. She must do it convincingly by giving Trump ally Diehl “one heck of a drubbing.” Trumpism and those who follow it must be soundly defeated. Our democracy depends upon it.