You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announces run for governor; has more than $3.6 million in campaign war chest

MassLive.com logo MassLive.com 1/20/2022 Alison Kuznitz, masslive.com

Fifty days after Gov. Charlie Baker ruled out a third term in office, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey entered the gubernatorial field early Thursday morning — releasing a short video that captured the breadth of her impressive legal battles waged “as the people’s lawyer” against predatory lenders, ExonMobil, the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma.

Healey shattered barriers as the country’s first openly gay attorney general, and as recently as last week, she made headlines announcing a major settlement with student loan company Navient that will impact more than 1,500 Massachusetts borrowers.

In the Democratic race for governor, Healey faces two female candidates, propelling a path for a historic race that in some ways parallels last year’s Boston mayoral campaign, in which two female candidates of color squared off to helm the city.

But Healey, whose campaign war chest exceeds $3.6 million, now emerges as the frontrunner against state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and Harvard professor Danielle Allen.

“Massachusetts, I know the years of the pandemic have been really hard,” Healey said at the start of her campaign launch video. “But I see a state that’s coming together with courage, grit and caring to do great things. From Worcester to Woburn, New Bedford to North Adams, Massachusetts will come back stronger than ever — because we’re working together.”

Healey pledged to bring Massachusetts residents together and ensure the commonwealth “comes back stronger than ever.” She also vowed to “bring justice and equality to everyone.”

“We’ll get our economy back on track and bring job training to every part of our state so that everyone can share in our growth,” Healey said. “We’ll make child care more affordable so that every family can have the flexibility and the support they need, and we’ll modernize our schools so that our children can learn in a safe, sustainable environment.”

Even before Baker bowed out of the 2022 race, Healey was widely expected to announce her candidacy. But a hypothetical polling scenario, based on 770 residents surveyed between Nov. 9-16, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found Baker would beat Healey 33% to 27%.

Baker, who like Healey stalled for months on making a decision, shocked supporters on Dec. 1 when he announced he would not seek reelection. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, in a perhaps more jolting announcement, said she would not run for his post.

Healey, in a television interview on Dec. 1, steered the attention away from her and back to Baker.

“What I will say is that I really appreciate the tremendous service that Gov. Charlie Baker has offered and will continue to offer to the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Healey said at the time.

In her campaign video on Thursday, Healey delved into her personal life, showing childhood family photos and noting she grew up as “one of five kids raised by a single mom.” In one old photograph, Healey shows her mother, who worked as a school nurse, in her uniform — followed by a flash-forward to present day, with mother and daughter walking together outdoors.

“It wasn’t always easy, but she taught us the importance of caring for others and for our community. Teamwork got us through,” Healey said in the video, which also includes pictures of the attorney general playing basketball. At Harvard, she was the co-captain of the women’s basketball team, and she went on to play professionally in Austria.

“I believe in teamwork,” Healey continues in the video. “I’ve seen it on the court — and in the court, as your attorney general.”

Healey, a civil rights attorney, became attorney general in January 2015, focusing her efforts on the opioid crisis, consumer protections, marriage equality and transgender discrimination, among other areas. She is an alumna of Harvard College and the Northeastern University School of Law.

Healey was previously the special assistant district attorney in Middlesex County. In Healey’s early career, according to her biography, she clerked for Judge David Mazzone in U.S. district court.

Last July, Healey announced a resolution in her lawsuit against the the Sacklers and their company, Purdue Pharma, tied to the family’s role in fueling the country’s opioid epidemic. Purdue Pharma was ordered to disclose “tens of millions of documents” about the opioid crisis, and by 2024, the company and the Sacklers are banned from the opioid business, Healey’s office said.

But the fate of a $4.5 billion payment for Purdue Pharma — intended to cover prevention, treatment and recovery efforts — remains in flux in the courts.

“From the day we opened our investigation and became the first state to sue the Sacklers, my office has been committed to revealing the truth about the opioid epidemic that the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma created, the devastation they caused, and the countless American families they hurt,” Healey had said in a July statement.

In October 2019, Healey sued ExxonMobil for deceptive advertising to Massachusetts consumers and for misleading investors in the Bay State about business risks “posed by fossil fuel-driven climate change,” her office said.

Put simply, ExxonMobil lied about climate change, Healey said in her campaign video Thursday. Yet Massachusetts also has the “best tech in the world,” Healey said, again calling for unity to take on climate change.

Even before the end of 2021, Healey had all but solidified her decision to run for governor, a close ally confirmed on several occasions to MassLive. But the timing, in the thick of holiday gatherings and the onslaught of the highly contagious omicron variant, was not right just yet, MassLive was told.

At the start of the year, the optimal timing grew murkier as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and Massachusetts schools struggled to welcome students back safely from winter break.

Healey also had to contend with other competing headlines recently, including state Sen. Eric Lesser announcing his bid for lieutenant governor, as well as Rachael Rollins being sworn in as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts and Kevin Hayden replacing her as Suffolk County district attorney.

In recent weeks, Healey assembled her campaign team and readied her attorney general’s office for her gubernatorial announcement, a Healey ally told MassLive on Wednesday evening. And in her final push before officially declaring her candidacy, Healey spoke with top supporters and family members, MassLive was told.

In a Dec. 30 tweet, Healey had asked donors to contribute to a “record-breaking fundraising month.” Healey, who tweeted about big challenges and big opportunities in 2022, seemed to signal her gubernatorial bid was imminent. The Healey committee ended up garnering more than $403,000 in December from 1,140 donors.

As of Dec. 31, Healey has $3,670,235.71 in her account, according to campaign finance reports. Chang-Díaz had $248,964.12 and Allen had $370,401.

Chang-Díaz pounced on news late Wednesday afternoon that Healey’s announcement was likely just hours away.

“I welcome the attorney general to the race,” Chang-Díaz said in a statement. “In this time of crisis, we need a robust conversation about how our government serves working families and meets our biggest challenges. Maura and I have differing records when it comes to priorities and governing, and I look forward to her joining the ongoing conversation we’re having with voters across Massachusetts.”

Allen, in a statement Wednesday evening, did not mention Healey by name. But Allen did say that she’s been in the race for a year to “make sure Massachusetts has a real choice.”

“This election is about the urgent challenges we’re facing — from the pandemic, to the climate crisis, to racial injustice, to the strains on our democracy,” Allen said. “Every single day, in every community in Massachusetts, people are struggling with the impacts of these challenges. So status quo is not an option.”

Former state Sen. Ben Downing, another Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, dropped out of the race due to a lack of financial resources.

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate and former state Rep. Geoff Diehl has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Shiva Ayyadurai, an MIT lecturer who’s decried the COVID-19 vaccines, is also running for Massachusetts governor.

Related Content:

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From MassLive.com

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon