Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell Making Calls About Running For Governor of Massachusetts

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/12/03/taunton-mayor-shaunna-oconnell-making-calls-about-running-for-governor-of-massachusetts/

She ran for re-election last month and her second term hasn’t even started yet, but Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell has her eyes on a new post.

The Taunton mayor, who served as a state representative from 2011 to 2019, is interested in running for governor of Massachusetts. If she declares, she would be the second elected official in the Republican Party to do so. Thus far, former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), who has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, is the only one.

Multiple sources within the Massachusetts Republican Party confirmed to NewBostonPost on Thursday and Friday this week that O’Connell has been making calls to members of the party to rally support for a potential campaign and to see where she stands with them.

O’Connell was re-elected as mayor of Taunton on Tuesday, November 2 — about one month ago. She ran unopposed for the post. She was first elected mayor in 2019.

If she were to win, O’Connell would be the first woman elected governor in Massachusetts history; Republican Jane Swift served as the state’s acting governor from 2001 to 2003, but that’s because the previous governor, Paul Cellucci, was appointed U.S. ambassador to Canada. Swift was the lieutenant governor at the time she became acting governor; she did not run for office in 2002.

O’Connell and Diehl were regarded as political allies during their time in the Massachusetts State House. They both supported a ballot question in 2014 that repealed a 2013 law that would have indexed the Massachusetts state level gas tax to inflation — allowing it to increase each year without a vote being taken. Voters passed the ballot question to stop the automatic gas tax increases.

Although Diehl and O’Connell have some similarities politically, especially in their desire to lower taxes, there are a couple of major differences between the two.

Diehl is an open supporter of former President Donald Trump, and is pro-life. O’Connell hasn’t said much about Trump over the past several years and supports legal abortion, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. Massachusetts Citizens for Life also confirmed the NewBostonPost that O’Connell stated on past candidate questionnaires that she supported legal abortion but opposed physician-assisted suicide. Diehl also opposes physician-assisted suicide.

O’Connell’s office could not be reached for comment on Thursday or Friday this week.


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