Agawam City Councilor To Announce Run For Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor As Geoff Diehl’s Running Mate, Sources Say

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UPDATE (4:45 p.m., January 18, 2022):  At the time of publication, the Diehl campaign had not responded to a request for comment. The Diehl campaign sent NewBostonPost a comment on the matter at 4:41 p.m. and the story has been updated to include it.


Former Massachusetts state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) is expected to soon have an unofficial running mate in the race for lieutenant governor.

That’s because Agawam city councilor Cecilia Calabrese plans to announce a run for the post, as multiple sources told NewBostonPost earlier in the week. Calabrese has been interested in running for lieutenant governor as Diehl’s running mate since at least August.

Calabrese has been a city councilor in Agawam since 2012. In 2020, she served as president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The web site for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts says that it’s a “non-profit organization that works to help city and town officials work together on advocacy and developing policy.”

The Diehl campaign neither confirmed nor denied that Calabrese will be his running mate in an email message on Tuesday afternoon, but commended her public service to date.

“Geoff Diehl respects Cecilia Calabrese and her service as an Agawam city councilor and past President of the Massachusetts Municipal Association,” the statement said. “Geoff also appreciates her support in his own race for Governor. The Diehl campaign continues to have discussions with a vast number of potential Lt. Governor candidates and has no announcement at this time.”

Calabrese has sided with conservatives on ballot initiatives and attempted ballot initiatives in recent years. She spoke out against the ranked-choice voting ballot initiative in 2020; it was defeated with 55 percent of Bay State voters opposing it. Last year, she attended a Massachusetts Republican Party event in Westfield, Massachusetts in support of the party’s attempt to get a voter ID question on the November 2022 ballot. She also chaired the attempted ballot initiative that aimed to prevent the proposed Transportation and Climate Initiative carbon fee on fuel last year. While the TCI question didn’t make the ballot, Baker pulled out of it back in November.

Outside of politics, Calabrese works at Agawam Dental Arts and is a registered dental hygienist.

When she announces, Calabrese will be the only Republican in the race. A pair of Republicans considered running for the post — former Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty and former Seventh Congressional District candidate Rayla Campbell — but they decided against it. Beaty, who lost his re-election bid for county commissioner in 2020, plans to run for a seat on the Barnstable County Commission this year, while Campbell is a candidate for Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Although the plan is for Diehl and Calabrese to be running mates, they will be running separately in the primary. The governor and lieutenant governor are not together on the ticket until the general election. However, each supports the other’s candidacy.

The unofficial arrangement is similar to what Republicans have done in several past races, starting with Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci in 1990. Cellucci ran unofficially with Jane Swift in 1998. In 2002, Mitt Romney ran unofficially with Kerry Healey. In 2014, Charlie Baker (the current governor) ran unofficially with Karyn Polito (the current lieutenant governor).

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side in 2022, there are five candidates for lieutenant governor:  Salem mayor Kim Driscoll, state Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), state Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), state representative Tami Gouveia (D-Acton), and Babson College lecturer Bret Bero.

Calabrese could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday this week. 


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