Money Couldn’t Stop Geoff Diehl and Leah Cole Allen In The Massachusetts Republican Primary

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Former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) didn’t have $2.2 million of his own money to spend in the Republican primary for governor.

Yet, Diehl beat someone who did by about 10 points on Tuesday.  

The conservative Republican defeated Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty, the more moderate of the two candidates, in the Republican primary for governor. Diehl led 55.6 percent to 44.4 percent with 93.5 percent of the vote counted, according to Politico.

Diehl will run with his previously unofficial running mate, former state representative Leah Cole Allen (R-Peabody), who defeated state representative Kate Campanale (R-Leicester), 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent with 92.3 percent of the vote counted in the Republican lieutenant governor primary, according to Politico. Campanale was Doughty’s preferred running mate and the two campaigned as a team during the primary. 

Diehl won the Republican primary against a candidate who largely self-funded his campaign. Through August, Doughty had pumped more than $2.2 million of his own money into the race, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance

Through August, Diehl had raised $714,092.53 this year — a smaller haul than Doughty’s $2.57 million, according to the state campaign finance agency. And the Diehl campaign spent about one-third of what the Doughty campaign spent in the first eight months of this year:  $802,884.58 versus $2,407,585.25

But Diehl told NewBostonPost in an in-person interview late last night that his message resonated with voters, regardless of how much his opponent spent. 

“This is actually something that I think started with Scott Brown in 2010,” Diehl said. “People saw it didn’t take money, it just took the right message and a candidate who believes in the people to deliver a victory for Republicans in this state. That momentum has continued in the state over the years. We stopped the gas tax from going up automatically with volunteers. That wasn’t a Republican issue. It was an issue that affected people across the state. It’s a household, pocketbook issue. We were able to win that. And people know that it’s important to have a Republican governor in office. We’ve had one 24 of the last 32 years because the Democratic legislature is so liberal that they passed driver’s licenses for illegals in this state over the veto of Charlie Baker. It’s now going to be on the ballot as a question as a veto referendum. That shows Beacon Hill doesn’t listen to the people. You need a governor that’s going to be a check and a balance against the supermajority of Democrats in the House and Senate.”

As Diehl mentioned, he was one of the leaders pushing for the 2014 ballot question that repealed a 2013 Massachusetts law that indexed the state’s gas tax to inflation. Bay Staters voted 53 percent to 47 percent to repeal it. 

Also last night, Allen told NewBostonPost at the same event that the ticket’s victories showed that people can’t buy their way into political office.

“Some of our critiques have been that we haven’t raised enough money but in the end, it doesn’t matter,” Allen said. “You can’t buy your way into the corner office. People know when you have a message that’s genuine and when you’re telling the truth and that’s what Geoff and I have been doing. We care about these issues. We care about the people of Massachusetts, and we want to make sure Massachusetts is a better place for everyone.”

Now, in a general election, Diehl and Allen will need to win over a different electorate.

They will face Democratic nominee Maura Healey, the current state attorney general, and her running mate Salem mayor Kim Driscoll.

Diehl said he thinks he has a message that will resonate will unenrolled voters, who make up the majority of the Massachusetts electorate, more than Healey’s message.

“That means that most of them don’t feel like it’s about party, but rather the person and, again, I’m somebody with a track record of having being elected four times to office and working to repeal that indexed gas tax in 2014,” Diehl said of unenrolled voters. “And I think people know that I’m a champion for them on every issue that’s important right now. When the pandemic hit, I think a lot of parents felt like they were short-changed with their education, so I want to give parents those choices to educate their children and choose where they go. The dollars should follow the kids. Whether it’s private schools, charter schools, or even homeschooling, I want to make sure they have the resources to do with their kids what they want in education.”

Diehl reiterated that he thinks his opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates will not only help working people but could ease staffing shortages in state-run entities, including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

“People felt government should not have been getting in between their health care decisions during the pandemic,” Diehl said. “Nobody should lose their job because they didn’t get vaccinated. Yet, that’s what happened to state troopers, corrections officers, and a lot of people in state government, including the MBTA who are short-staffed right now because a lot of people either took early retirement or were fired. We have to make sure people have the right to choose their own health care without government getting in between them.”

Diehl’s running mate, Allen, was forced to resign from her position as a nurse at Beverly Hospital earlier this year because of the hospital’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

Now, she and Diehl are running against a Democratic ticket that includes Driscoll, who as mayor of Salem engineered a vaccine passport program last winter.

“I think we have a good message that’s going to resonate with the people of Massachusetts,” Allen said. “It resonated with the primary voters. People are tired of the government overreaching. They don’t want it involved in their personal lives. They want them to follow the Constitution and not to overstep it.”

Diehl also said that the state is taking too much money from the people and that if elected, he would want to ensure people weren’t overpaying for the state’s essential services. 

“Our state took in $6 billion in excess tax revenue,” Diehl said. “We are being overtaxed by Beacon Hill right now and they don’t even want to give that money back to the people. I’m going to make sure that government provides the services that people expect, but with transparency and making sure that taxpayers aren’t paying an unfair share to get those services provided.”

Diehl said he thinks the Diehl-Allen ticket is what’s needed to take down Healey in November. 

“We feel pretty strongly about that and we hope that the people of Massachusetts choose the team that they think will best be able to win in November and it looks like we have that team in place,” Diehl said. “I’m really excited to bring my message to people across the state.”


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