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State Auditor candidates tear into each other in short, contentious debate

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The auditor’s race may seem like it would be the most quiet on the state-wide slate, but the two candidates vying for the watchdog position tore into each other during a 30-minute slobberknocker broadcast this weekend.

“Mr Amore, I am used to men like you, up on Beacon Hill, trying to dismiss and discredit the work of women working up on Beacon Hill who absolutely have the experience and capabilities to do our jobs,” state Sen. Diana DiZoglio said at one point during the debate.

Host Jon Keller, arguably the most experienced local politics debate moderator around, could barely keep Republican investigator Anthony Amore and DiZoglio from simply bobbing back and forth between rebuttals of hurled accusations and claims of outright falsehoods in the meeting taped Thursday but aired in full on Saturday and in short form on Sunday.

Over the course of thirty minutes,  the candidates repeatedly attacked each other’s records and plans for the office.

“You don’t have any experience in this field,” Amore said of Democratic candidate DiZoglio.

Amore is perhaps best known for his role in the investigation of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but he was also a U.S. Immigration officer and responsible for revamping security at Logan Airport after some of the 9/11 hijackers boarded two planes there in 2001.

DiZoglio, according to her own account, came from almost nothing to work her way through college and into politics. She won her Methuen district as state representative three times and has been a state senator for four years now. She’s known as a thorn in the side of the state’s political establishment and often bucks the party leadership.

Her record is impressive, Amore said, more than enough to earn a voter’s support should she run for congress. However, according to Amore, DiZoglio doesn’t have any of the experience required to do the job of state auditor or run the sizable organization the auditor is responsible for overseeing.

“How many audits and investigations have you done in your career? None. How many organizations have you led? How many times have you been the director or executive leading an organization, responsible for a big organization? Never. These are the key elements of being an auditor and you don’t have them. Nobody thinks it’s patronizing to say that.”

According to DiZoglio, Amore is a supporter of former President Donald Trump, who he apparently voted for in 2020, and she said he defended parts of the 45th president’s checkered history.

“I find it disgraceful that my opponent was on Twitter defending Donald Trump on sexual harassment allegations and advocating to defund programs like meals on wheels,” DiZoglio said.

“I think we’ve pretty much exhausted the topic,” Keller said eventually, trying to move the pair along.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump, first elected to the role in 2010, announced last year she would not seek a fourth term. Bump endorsed DiZoglio after the September primary, but endorsed her democratic rival ahead of that contest.

Amore, on the other hand, has the support of outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker and few others within his party, after recent party drama left Amore out of several statewide advertising efforts.

The general election will be held in about three weeks, on Tuesday, November 8. Amore and DiZoglio are not scheduled to meet for further debate.

METHUEN, MA: January 24, 2020: State Senator Diana DiZoglio in Methuen, Massachusetts. (Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
METHUEN, MA: January 24, 2020: State Senator Diana DiZoglio in Methuen, Massachusetts. (Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

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