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Campbell announces run for AG’s office

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Campbell announces run for AG’s office
Andrea Campbell in Codman Square BANNER PHOTO

Pledging to fight for equity and opportunity for Massachusetts residents, former District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell announced her campaign for Massachusetts Attorney General last Wednesday in Codman Square.

In her remarks, the Mattapan resident described her experience growing up in Boston, living in public housing and seeing family members cycle through the criminal justice system. She ticked off her accomplishments, including becoming the first Black woman to serve as president of the City Council and serving as legal counsel to Gov. Deval Patrick.

“I’ve dedicated my entire life for fighting for greater opportunity and equity,” she said. “And that’s exactly what I’ll do as the next attorney general of Massachusetts. Because the attorney general is not just the top chief law enforcement officer in the state; the attorney general must be an advocate for fundamental change.”

Campbell, who championed police reform on the Council, most recently ran for mayor, placing third in preliminary voting behind Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George.

She joins labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and consumer protection advocate Quentin Palfrey in the race. A MassINC poll, conducted before Campbell’s announcement, showed her leading with 31% of the 504 registered voters who responded saying they favored her, versus 3% who favored Liss-Riordan and 2% who favored Palfrey. (54% said they were undecided.)

Joining Campbell for the Feb. 2 campaign kickoff were state Sen. Lydia Edwards, state Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley, Essaibi George, current District 4 City Councilor Brian Worrell, former state Rep. Dan Cullinane, former state Rep. Marc Draisen and former Codman Square Neighborhood Health Center Executive Director and mayoral candidate Bill Walczak.

While the MassINC poll showed Campbell receiving strong support inside of Route 128, she will have to build a statewide organization to secure the Attorney General seat. She’s already begun assembling a campaign organization. Her campaign manager, Will Stockton, ran former Newton Mayor Setti Warren’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign and has run campaigns in New Hampshire, Nevada and New Jersey. Campbell raised $1.8 million during her run for mayor and will likely need to raise a similar amount for a statewide campaign. On Friday, her campaign announced she had raised more than $100,000 in the 24 hours since her Wednesday announcement.

Campbell is running during a cycle marked by vacancies in key constitutional offices. At the top of the Democratic ticket, current Attorney General Maura Healey, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Harvard University Professor Danielle Allen are vying for the governor’s seat soon to be vacated by Gov. Charlie Baker. Former state Sen. Jeff Diehl, a vocal Trump supporter, is expected to lead the Republican field in the race.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s departure has attracted two Democratic candidates so far for that office: state Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Chris Dempsey, former executive director of Transportation for Massachusetts.

In the race for secretary of the commonwealth, NAACP Boston Branch President Tanisha Sullivan isn’t waiting for a vacancy. She’s challenging 28-year incumbent Bill Galvin for the seat, running on a platform of bringing progressive change to the state’s voting laws, promoting economic opportunity and bringing greater transparency to state government.

While no woman of color has ever been elected to statewide office in Massachusetts, recent political trends here could inform this year’s political cycle.

In the 2020 U.S. Senate race between incumbent Ed Markey and former U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, the former relied on a surge of younger, more progressive voters to fend off the latter’s challenge.

In 2018, challenger Ayanna Pressley benefitted from a similar surge in progressive voters when she defeated 20-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano. In both cases, Democrats’ longstanding belief in the dominance of moderate suburban voters was contradicted by a surge of progressive voters.

Campbell appears poised to ride that progressive wave, stressing the attorney general’s ability to ensure that people of color and immigrants are treated fairly and to rein in predatory lenders and other businesses that prey on low-income people.

“The AG’s office absolutely has the power to ensure that every neighborhood and zip code in the Commonwealth absolutely get to participate in [the state’s] prosperity,” she said. “Families desperately need that right now, and I’m excited about that.”

Local contests

At the local level, candidates are lining up to fill the House seats soon to be vacated by 5th Suffolk Rep. Liz Miranda and 15th Suffolk Rep. Nika Elugardo, both of whom are running for the 2nd Suffolk Senate seat being vacated by Sonia Chang-Diaz, who is running for governor.

BPDA Assistant Director of Diversity and Equity Christopher Worrell, who in 2018 ran for Governor’s Council, filed a change of purpose letter with Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) indicating a run for the Dorchester-based 5th Suffolk district. To prevail in the heavily Cape Verdean district, he will likely have to face off against Danielson “Donny” Tavares, currently the city of Boston’s chief diversity officer, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the seat soon.

In the Jamaica Plain-based 15th Suffolk District, Samantha Montaño, associate director of community organizing for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, has filed as a Democrat with OCPF. Northeastern University graduate student Richard Anthony Fierro, who most recently worked in the governor’s Operations Department, has filed with the OCPF as unenrolled and has a website up.

Andrea Campbell, attorney general