In Massachusetts, the race for state governor has been in full swing for almost a year. Massachusetts has had a history of electing Republican governors. Of the state’s four most recently elected governors including Governor Charlie Baker, all but one — Deval Patrick — are Republican. Why? States don’t always like to practice what they preach. While Massachusetts citizens consistently take progressive social and economic stances on a federal level — take a look at our two senators — the same doesn’t seem to apply in our own state. But it’s not as if any Republican could win the race. For example, Mitt Romney ran for governor as a pro-choice, fiscally conservative candidate. Research shows that Massachusetts residents feel more strongly against increases in state taxes than on the federal level. In reality, Massachusetts citizens prefer the fiscal conservatism that Republicans offer.
According to a January poll by WBUR, incumbent Baker has a 74 percent approval rating among Massachusetts voters. With Baker being one of the most popular governors in America standing for re-election, it raises the question of why this race even matters. This election will be all about getting to the polls. Any race conducted off-cycle, as in during a different year than the presidential race, draws lower turnout among younger voters. This means that the more consistent elderly voters who have more conservative views will dominate the polls. If Democrats want to win, it’s time to offset that imbalance and tap into the youth of Massachusetts. The governor’s main job is to preside over the state budget and set executive policies. This is incredibly important as these are the policies that directly affect us as Tufts students. If we care about fighting for a higher minimum wage in Massachusetts, elect a Democrat for governor. If we care about safer working conditions for employees, elect a Democrat for governor. If we care about making public transportation safer and more efficient, elect a Democrat for governor.
Who’s running? There are three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. Jay Gonzalez was the Secretary of Administration and Finance under former governor Deval Patrick. He later served as the president and CEO of a healthcare company. Setti Warren is the former mayor of Newton and has experience serving in the Navy. Lastly, Bob Massie was the former executive director of environmental nonprofit Ceres and has extensive experience advocating for climate change issues. All three candidates differ vastly; the race to clinch the nomination has begun.
In the following weeks, I will spotlight each of the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates. It’s not too early to get involved in the race! Each of the Democratic candidates have differing visions for the Commonwealth, but all share a goal of creating more progressive legislation in Massachusetts. These primaries are important to pay attention to and get involved in. Democrats need to hit the ground running in order to try and unseat an extremely popular Republican governor. Keep your eyes out for when the candidates stop by Medford or Somerville and be sure to attend events that they host. In 2018, it’s time to elect more Democrats to office.