The art of the Diehl: Mass. Rep. signs on with Trump

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BOSTON – Last summer, state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) attended a fundraiser for real estate magnate Donald Trump at the home of car dealer and Boston personality Ernie Boch, Jr.

Apparently, he liked what he saw.

On Tuesday, Diehl became the first elected Republican in the Bay State to officially support Trump’s campaign for president.  In an interview with Boston Magazine posted Tuesday, Diehl said he is signing on as co-chair of Trump’s Massachusetts campaign, which is spearheaded by Acton’s Dean Cavaretta.

Diehl told the magazine that Trump’s goals for Washington parallel his own for the Bay State.

“Donald Trump has a vision for D.C. allowing us to have better financial success through his tax plan. He obviously wants us to be more secure militarily, improve life for veterans and their families. He wants to make America great,” Diehl said.

Also supporting Trump’s White House bid is former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who in 2010 himself rode a wave of voter dissatisfaction to victory over an establishment favorite, Democrat Martha Coakley. Brown, at the time a little-known Republican state senator, ran a low-budget, insurgent campaign against the former state Attorney General in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts’s longtime Democratic senator.  At a time when voter opposition to Obamacare was peaking, Brown was able to harness a groundswell of grassroots support and shock the political world with his upset victory.

Today, Brown says Trump carries that insurgent mantle. In January, Brown took to Facebook to say:

“I want a ‘change agent’ to go down there and shake things up. (Trump) is the only independently funded, truly independent person to be able to do that.”

The Donald holds a commanding lead in Massachusetts, according to the only recent statewide poll. It showed Trump on track to win 50 percent of the Republican vote in the March 1 presidential primary.

One Republican who won’t be voting for Donald Trump?  Gov. Charlie Baker.  He told reporters Tuesday that he has not yet decided for whom he will cast his ballot, but that it won’t be for Trump.

“I have made quite clear that I have concerns about Mr. Trump’s ability to serve as president,” Baker said.

Just before the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, Baker threw his support behind a fellow governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey. Christie, who was also endorsed by the Boston Herald, pulled out of the race after a dismal showing in the Granite State.

Meanwhile, over in the Twitterverse, Howie Carr announced Tuesday that Trump will rally his Bay State troops at 11 a.m. Sunday at Faneuil Hall.  It will be Trump’s last appearance here before Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Super Tuesday.

On Wednesday, more Bay State elected officials climbed on board with Trump rivals.

The Republican leader in the state House of Representatives, Brad Jones, said he plans to endorse U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in Tuesday’s primary, according to the State House News Service.

“I’ll be endorsing Senator Rubio,” said Jones, a North Reading Republican, who called his man “inspirational, aspirational” and the Republican Party’s best chance to take the White House in November.

Republican members in the Massachusetts House and Senate have largely split support between Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.