Following is a roundup of political news reported by State House News Service staff members over the last few weeks:
He has faced tensions within his own party hierarchy, but lame-duck Republican Gov. Charlie Baker remains popular among Democrats during his final year in office. In a new UMass Lowell poll of likely Democratic primary voters, 77 percent of registered Democrats said they strongly or somewhat approve of Baker’s job performance. Seventy percent of respondents said they have a favorable impression of Baker compared to 19 percent who view the Republican governor unfavorably, a 51-point net favorability rating that puts his standing among Democrats roughly in line with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu (+52 net favorability) and slightly behind Democrat US Sens. Elizabeth Warren (+58 net favorability) and Ed Markey (+57 net favorability). Massachusetts Democrats hold Baker in higher regard than un-retired former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who received a favorable rating from 47 percent and an unfavorable rating from 29 percent, though neither comes anywhere close to the support earned by ice cream, which 94 percent of respondents view favorably compared to just 2 percent who disparage the dessert.
— CHRIS LISINSKI
Firefighters Union backs Liss-Riordan in AG race
The union representing more than 12,000 active and retired firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics in Massachusetts has endorsed Shannon Liss-Riordan in the contest for attorney general, pointing to the Democrat’s success as a labor attorney as the factor that elevated her above others in the race. “Shannon’s record of fighting for working people is unmatched and she is the only candidate in this race with the experience that equips her to do this job on day one. Working people in Massachusetts need an attorney with a track record of success as their next AG, and Shannon Liss-Riordan is the candidate who fits the bill,” Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts President Rich MacKinnon Jr. said. Liss-Riordan has enjoyed early support from unions as she faces former Boston City Councillor Andrea Campbell and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Quentin Palfrey in a Democratic primary. Bourne attorney Jay McMahon, the Republican nominee for attorney general in 2018, is also running for the post.
— COLIN A. YOUNG
Environmental League hosts Healey, Chang-Diaz
Democratic candidates for governor Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and Attorney General Maura Healey were scheduled to participate in this Wednesday’s (April 27) Environmental League of Massachusetts(ELM)-WBUR forum focusing on energy and the environment. ELM says that all major candidates were invited to participate and that the 6 p.m. event will stream online while it takes place in-person at WBUR CitySpace. “The next governor of Massachusetts will have the responsibility to keep us on our path toward carbon neutrality,” ELM Vice President for Policy Nancy Goodman said in a statement. “It is critical they enter the office with a bold vision and plan for implementation. That’s what voters will be looking for when they head to the polls in November. We look forward to providing this opportunity for the candidates to discuss the most pressing issues of our time.” The event is billed as a forum rather than a debate.
– KATIE LANNAN
Environmental activists in boost to Chang-Diaz
During a week that has been heavy on climate news, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’s gubernatorial campaign announced a slate of endorsements from six people the Jamaica Plain Democrat’s team said are among “Massachusetts’s top climate policy makers, experts, and advocates.” The list includes Bob Massie, an environmentalist and 2018 candidate for governor; Patrick-era Department of Public Utilities Chair Ann Berwick; Executive Director of Renew US Dálida Rocha; former president of the Conservation Law Foundation Philip Warburg; Executive Director of Alternatives for Community and Environment Dwaign Tyndal; Executive Director of Livable Streets Stacy Thompson; and Claire Miller, founder and co-coordinator of the Mass Power Forward Coalition. “We need a governor like Sonia to shift us to clean electricity, break free from the stranglehold of fossil fuels, catch up on renewable energies, and build an equitable economy. Sonia has excellent plans, laid out paragraph by paragraph, and the experience to deliver them,” Massie said, referring to the climate plan Chang-Diaz released in December. Earlier in the week, Chang-Diaz’s Democratic primary rival Maura Healey released her own climate plan and scored the endorsements of the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.
— COLIN A. YOUNG
An interesting twist in auditor campaign
In the wide-open race for state auditor, transportation advocate Chris Dempsey now counts his opponent’s predecessor among his camp. Lat week, Dempsey announced that he had secured the endorsement of former state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, who represented the First Essex District from 2013 until 2019, when she was succeeded by auditor candidate Sen. Diana DiZoglio. “I am enthusiastically supporting Chris Dempsey for state auditor because he is articulating detailed and clear plans … such as tracking the spending of the unprecedented ARPA federal funding Massachusetts is receiving,” O’Connor Ives said in a statement provided by Dempsey’s campaign. “I have not made an endorsement of a candidate for public office since retiring from the State Senate at the beginning of 2019, but I feel strongly that in this race there is a clear choice and Chris Dempsey will work in the public’s interest.” Both Democrats running for auditor have nearly equal backing among voters so far, according to a new UMass Lowell poll of likely Democratic primary voters that found 23 percent support for Dempsey, 21 percent support for DiZoglio ,and 54 percent undecided.
— CHRIS LISINSKI