Mass Republicans approve Diehl, Doughty for gubernatorial primary

Republican delegates on Saturday qualified both of their candidates for Massachusetts governor – Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty – for the September primary ballot, and gave Diehl the party’s endorsement in the race.

Delegates also gave enough support to both Leah Cole Allen and Kate Campanale, the two GOP lieutenant governor candidates, to ensure them ballot access.

Diehl and Allen, both former state representatives, are running as a ticket, and were favored by party insiders at the convention. While he has lost races for state Senate and U.S. Senate, Diehl described himself to delegates as the “worst nightmare” for Democrats this election cycle.

“Progressives fear us because we have the courage to stand by our convictions and to fight against their great reset of our country,” said Diehl. “I have the courage to look them in the eye and say ‘no.’ Massachusetts should not be the testing ground for outrageous liberal experiments.”

After Allen told delegates “we are the firepower who will stand against the radical left,” Diehl used his time at center stage to call liberal progressives a “flagrant foul” in Massachusetts and vowed to “blow the whistle on them.”

He pledged to cut taxes, knocked mail-in voting, and promised on “day one” to rehire every state worker fired due to the vaccine mandate. He vowed to “on day two give a pink slip to everyone who thought that was a good idea.”

Doughty, a Wrentham businessman, has paired his candidacy with Campanale, a former representative. They each secured the support of more than 15 percent of delegates, overcoming an obstacle that could have ended their candidacies.

Cautioning against a possible “single-party state,” Doughty said liberals are already celebrating that possibility. He promised to “fix our schools” and “stand up to support our police” and to aid people who are facing difficult fiscal decisions due to soaring inflation.

“We do not need a governor who just talks about jobs. We need a governor who has actually created jobs,” Doughty said, calling for a “zero-based” state budget that he said will force a reevaluation of government spending to cut out waste.

Taunton Mayor Shaunna Republican, a former Republican state representative, said she knows what it takes for Republicans to win and believes in Doughty, who she said has “most importantly … a path to victory.”

“We must elect a governor who will put people over politics,” O’Connell said.

Campanale also raised electability in her speech to the convention.

“We cannot come in second and pat ourselves on the back for a good effort,” she said.

Capping a long day of speeches, delegates gave Diehl 849 votes, and Doughty 345.

Allen secured 864 votes, or 70 percent of those voting, and Campanale won 370 votes – 30 percent.

Three other Republicans running statewide this year were nominated by acclamation since they faced no opposition.

State auditor nominee Anthony Amore was nominated by 2020 Republican Senate nominee Kevin O’Connor.

The Legislature is on a “spending spree” yet will not embrace tax relief even with residents struggling due to inflation, Amore said, promising to uncover and expose waste, fraud and abuse if elected.

Saying Republicans have an opportunity to take an office that Democrats have held for more than 80 years, Amore suggested that his rivals for the post – Democrats Chris Dempsey and Diana DiZoglio – don’t have backgrounds in auditing or running large organizations.

Amore said “professionalism not politics” would guide him, if elected, and alleged that auditors over the years have gone out of their way to maintain the status quo and not embarrass or threaten powerful Democrats in the state.

Secretary of State nominee Rayla Campbell said she looked forward to serving as “Madame Secretary,” if elected, and called for in-person voting, requiring voters to present identification, and hand-counting ballots.

She urged delegates to speak out against Democrats. “We need to be out there in front of them, going after them,” she said.

“I will make sure your voices are heard, that you know what your rights are,” she said, generally proclaiming to “expose everything that they’re doing” and honor Freedom of Information Act requests that she said get bottled up under Secretary William Galvin’s administration.

Campbell described herself as pro-life and pro-Second Amendment and knocked Galvin for featuring himself in official government documents. She also stunned some in the arena when she suggested that educators were telling five-year-old boys they can have oral sex with each other.

Jay McMahon, the party nominee for attorney general and a candidate for that office in 2018, criticized movements to “defund the police” and predicted the efforts, if successful, would lead to people being placed into holding queues when calling local police departments for help.

McMahon said he believes vaccine mandates are “completely illegal and unconstitutional” and though COVID-19 infections, and hospitalizations, are on the rise again, he told delegates, “Has anybody told Beacon Hill the pandemic’s over?”

The Bourne attorney described himself as an alternative to three Democrats running for attorney general who he said are locked in efforts to outcompete one another for the progressive vote.

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