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Healey running for governor; can she break the Curse of the Attorney General?

Together | Maura Healey for Governor

To the surprise of no one, Attorney General Maura Healey of Charlestown announced this morning that, yes, she's running for governor.

It's become a tradition in Massachusetts: Whoever becomes attorney general eventually runs for governor. But Healey will be trying to break another tradition: That an attorney general who runs for governor loses:

Healey's predecessor, Martha Coakley, didn't learn from her losing Senate campaign and ran for governor in 2014. She lost to Charlie Baker.

Coakley's predecessor, Tom Reilly, didn't even make it that far - he lost the 2006 Democratic primary to Deval Patrick.

Reilly's predecessor, Scott Harshbarger, lost to Paul Cellucci in 1998. Harshbarger became AG by defeating James Shannon in the Democratic primary. Shannon is the exception that proves the rule: He didn't run for governor while attorney general.

Shannon took over from Francis Bellotti, who tried to get elected governor twice, losing both times in the Democratic primary, first to Kevin White, then to John Silber (neither of them got elected governor, either).

Bellotti took over from Robert Quinn, who lost to Mike Dukakis in the Democratic primary in 1974.

And Quinn took over from Elliot Richardson, yes, the Nixon Saturday Night Massacre Richardson, but he never ran for governor.

Before that, people who served as AG split between running for governor and the senate (think Edward Brooke). In 1958, then AG George Fingold, a Republican, started running for governor, but he died before the primary.

The last Massachusetts attorney general to get elected governor was Paul Dever, although he was no longer AG at the time. Dever, elected attorney general in 1934, ran against incumbent Gov. Leverett Saltonstall in 1940, but lost. After a World War II stint in the military, he ran for lieutenant governor in 1946, lost, then ran for governor in 1948 (back when governors were elected every two years) and won (and then, in 1952, he ran for president, and well, you can guess).

All of the above is from the Wikipedia list of Massachusetts attorneys general (yes, of course, Wikipedia has a list for that).

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Comments

She might find success by, unlike Martha, not looking down her nose at Sox fans.

I'm still astonished that someone with two college degrees could be that dense.

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She looked down at everyone, not just sox fans. I stayed home for the election because I couldn't in good faith voted for someone that stuck up and held that much disdain to mixing with average folks

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Finished fourth in a race for the Democratic nomination for State Rep in 1997 after she carpetbagged into Dot.

Good guy Jim Hunt finished second and Marty Walsh finished first.

Of course Scott (What State Am I Trying to Be A Senator From Today) Brown cleaned her clock for Senate. Her arrogance was amazing.

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but a second generation hack.

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Maura Healey has the “curse” of the Attorney General. Geoff Diehl has the curse of wanting to be Trump in Massachusetts. I’m betting on Maura.

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She faces some hurdles - mostly winning over the rest of the state. Aside from all of the hate she faces from the gun nuts in the rural areas, there are also a lot of people in the middle and western end of the state who want to vote for someone from "not Boston".

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She faces some hurdles - mostly winning over the rest of the state.

Why? She's got statewide name recognition.

Aside from all of the hate she faces from the gun nuts in the rural areas

It may interest you to know that "the rural areas" don't just contain "gun nuts", but also have pretty big problems with opioid addiction. My impression is that Maura's work there gets a lot of respect and appreciation statewide.

there are also a lot of people in the middle and western end of the state who want to vote for someone from "not Boston"

They do, in the abstract, but Ben Downing bailed out. On the other hand, Adam Hinds is very much actively pursuing the lieutenant governor position. For those who don't know him, he's a two-term state senator from western Mass (home is in Pittsfield) who has made himself well-known in the State House as an effective legislator. He's solid on policy, does the hard work without shortcuts, and is very good at working with different people. He's represented a big chunk (geographically) of "not Boston", and could be the perfect match for Healey (or anyone from eastern MA, but I'd bet that he'll see her as the most likely winner). His resume and credentials are good. I think he's got big potential to claim the "not Boston" vote for whoever he teams up with, and I'm betting it will be Healey.

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Yes and Senators do not become President because they just have not won in a generation. Then they did , won re-election then after four years of chaos yet another Senator is sitting in the White House.

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She was divorced, and her ex spouse sold their home.

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I believe she lives in Dedham at the moment.

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Bill Bulger did everything he could to stop Bellotti.

There was an old rumor about a person named John Coady who was killed and the Bulger people tried to link it to Bellotti.

There was graffiti spray painted on the Hubbardston Street concrete abutment (across from Savin Hill station facing the baseball fields) that just said in plain letters "Who Killed John Coady?"

Somehow the highway department, which was good at removing graffiti never got around to removing that, and everyone stuck in traffic coming up the Expressway in the morning got to read those words every morning for years.

Watching Silber (Bulger's lap dog) implode in 1990 was one of the funniest things of all time. You get to have the Presidents of the US and France at your commencement in 1989 and then get taken out the next year by Natalie Jacobson and some unknown woman screaming at you up in Uphams Corner when your Texan arse went to Dot tried to tell the "blacks" how to improve themselves.

Go Maura Go.

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I think she'd make a decent governor -- certainly better than Chucklehead Charlie, and probably a lot better than most of the time-servers in the legislature whose careers consist of waiting until someone higher on the food chain retires or moves on so that they can make a play for their position. But I really like her as AG, and the fact that she's not in the legislature means she'll be denied all the old-boy back-scratching that legislative time-servers do for each other. If she tries and fails, it's a lose-lose.

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I don't know if she's the most political AG we've ever had, but she is up there.

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as her campaign manager.

He has a record of breaking curses.

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pretty sure a moldy ham sandwich could beat Geoff Diehl in a MA election as long as it had a "d" next to it on the ballot.

For the record, that is not a shot at Healy, I like her and will be voting for her after she wins the nomination. If Diehl is the best the MA gop can produce, it's a really sorry state of affairs for them.

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In a two-party system, the only alternative to party A is party B. People unhappy with the performance of party A have no choice but B, no matter how extreme B's nominee may be.

Everyone assumed Republicans would lose in 2016 when they nominated Trump; even Trump thought he would lose. But the outcome of the election was determined more by people's dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton, who represented the party in power. So, millions of them voted for Trump, even knowing exactly what sort of man he is.

If Democrats nominate Healey and republicans nominate Diehl, there's a very real possibility Diehl will win.

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Everyone assumed Republicans would lose in 2016 when they nominated Trump; even Trump thought he would lose. But the outcome of the election was determined more by people's dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton, who represented the party in power. So, millions of them voted for Trump, even knowing exactly what sort of man he is.

That's not exactly what happened.

The outcome of the 2016 presidential election was not determined by people deciding to vote for Trump because they were dissatisfied with Clinton. It was determined by people not voting at all. In every state except a very few (MA was one), more registered voters did not vote than voted for either candidate. The statement "The only alternative to party A is party B" is categorically false. People can, and increasingly do, choose not to play. It might be worth reexamining some of the accepted wisdom about past Massachusetts gubernatorial elections, as well as your assertion here, with that in mind.

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...nor the battle to the strong; but that is the way to bet.”

Republicans didn't crack 40% in any congressional election in 2020. Healey has an enormous advantage in funds. Diehl has tied himself to Trump, who got 32% of the vote in 2020. Even assuming Republicans on the upswing nationally in 2022, it's difficult to see how Diehl wins.

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The last sitting Attorney-General to be elected Governor of Massachusetts was John H. Clifford in 1852.

It's pretty clear that Massachusetts voters have a consistent pattern of rejecting any A.G. who runs for Governor.

Democrats had better hope someone beats Healey in the primary, or else look forward to four years with a new Republican Governor.

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The last sitting Attorney-General to be elected Governor of Massachusetts was John H. Clifford in 1852.

Refresh my memory, was that before or after the Great Molasses Flood?

It's pretty clear that Massachusetts voters have a consistent pattern of rejecting any A.G. who runs for Governor.

Yes, and you know what else? I am undefeated in the sport of table tennis in all of Europe. Of course, I've never played table tennis in Europe, but don't let that stand in the way of a bold dramatic assertion that seems to be saying more than it is.

Democrats had better hope someone beats Healey in the primary, or else look forward to four years with a new Republican Governor.

Rubbish.

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