It would be a mistake to write off Geoff Diehl.
He has a path to the governor’s office, narrow as it might be.
It begins with his surprising showing among unenrolled (independent) voters in the latest 7NEWS/Emerson College poll
Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, a Joe Biden supporter, led overall in the poll of 708 voters by a margin of 52% to 34%.
But Diehl, who has been endorsed by Donald Trump, led Healey among unenrolled (independents) by a surprising margin of 45% to 38%.
And the poll was taken before Biden chose to demonize millions of Trump voters, including those in Massachusetts, by calling them “semi-fascists” who are intent on destroying democracy.
Millions of those alleged “semi fascists” believe it is Biden who is destroying democracy, not them
Many of those Trump voters Biden insulted are independents who voted for Trump in 2016 and again in 2020 and will vote for him in 2024 if he runs for president. Many of them live in Massachusetts.
Yes, Massachusetts is a progressive and Democratic state. There are 1,434,356 registered Democrat voters in Massachusetts compared to only 436,379 Republicans.
But there are 2,9111,268 independents who can vote for a Democrat or Republican. They are the key to winning an election. And if that poll is any indication of how independents are leaning, then Healey has something to worry about.
To have any chance of winning, Diehl must appeal to disgusted independents but must also tie Healey to Joe Biden’s failed presidency, especially when it comes to inflation, open borders and domestic energy. .
This includes high food and gas prices, empty shelves, the ravages of Chinese fentanyl coming into the country, rampant street crime and senseless climate change diktats.
Healey has gone after Diehl for supporting Trump. She calls Diehl “Donald Trump.”
Diehl would miss a golden opportunity by not turning the tables and calling her “Joe Biden.”
He could also point out that Healey, a veteran Biden supporter, is now running away from the man she once admired just as other Democrats are doing.
Healey shunned Biden on Monday when the president was in Boston for two public speeches, one on the infrastructure at Logan Airport and the other at the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester, where Biden talked about his cancer moonshot initiative.
While all the state’s top Democrats were at one or the other event, or both, Healey was a no show, giving wobbly Joe Biden the cold shoulder.
Diehl should ask Healey if she supports Biden running again. Also, when Healey accuses him of supporting Trump, Diehl should point out that it was not Trump who opened the southern border, retreated from Afghanistan, canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, increased food and gas prices, raided the home of a former president or hired 87,000 new IRS agents to go after small businesses and middle- and working class Americans. It was Joe Biden. No wonder Healey ditched him.
Another issue playing into Diehl’s favor is the question of overturning the law granting drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. Thanks to the signature gathering drive of the Republican State Committee and Diehl, voters will be asked to approve or repeal the law. Healey and the progressives support granting the licenses.
Healey is heavily favored to defeat Diehl. She not only has the media in her back pocket, she has some $5 million in campaign funds. Diehl ended his primary campaign with less than $20,000 in the bank, which in a campaign is not even walking around money.
They say that money can’t buy love. Sometimes it can’t buy an election either.
Shannon Liss-Reardon spent $9 million running for attorney general in the Democrat primary. She lost.
Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.