Dems’ coordinated campaign takes aim at Baker, Diehl — and Trump

Senator Elizabeth Warren, surrounded by other leading Democrats, spoke at a morning event in Dorchester to discuss the party's coordinated campaign effort this fall. Jennifer Smith photo

The state’s most powerful Democrats convened in Dorchester this morning to map out their coordinated strategy ahead of the November election. Based on their initial comments to media after they broke from their huddle, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker can expect a spirited contest to keep his corner office seat.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey, and Congressman Richard Neal all voiced their strong support for the Democratic nominee for governor, Jay Gonzalez. The group spoke to reporters alongside Dorchester’s Ayanna Pressley, who scored the most dramatic electoral win of last week’s primary election when she upset incumbent Congressman Mike Capuano.

Following a closed-door meeting in Warren’s Columbia Point campaign office—the first post-election unity event in which both Warren and Markey were present—the senators and the congressman ramped up their attack on Charlie Baker, honing in on his endorsement of Geoff Diehl as the state GOP’s nominee to challenge Warren.

Senator Warren took the floor first, spelling out the Congressional delegation’s commitment to working as a visibly organized and coordinated campaign over the next 55 days before the November 6 election.

"Republicans have been in charge, but tick tock. Change is coming," Warren said, adding that there are 55 days until the election.

“What we have now is the largest coordinated campaign—meaning state and federal—on the Democratic side in the history of this Commonwealth,” said Senator Warren, who said that voters and volunteers are motivated by a Trump administration that threatens their ideals.

“We’ve got to give them a reason to vote, and that reason to vote is people who will fight for their our values,” said Warren.

Gonzalez spoke after Senator Warren, saluting the state’s Congressional delegation for “leading the resistance to all Donald Trump’s efforts to take us backwards.”

Gonzalez took direct aim at Baker, stressing that Massachusetts needs a governor who will actively fight Donald Trump’s “hateful and divisive rhetoric.”

By publicly backing noted Trump supporter and state Rep. Geoff Diehl for US Senate, Baker “is supporting Donald Trump’s efforts to take this country backwards.” Diehl, Gonzalez said, backs an “anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, pro-NRA agenda.”

Gonzalez, who defeated Bob Massie last Tuesday to earn to Democrat’s slot on the gubernatorial ballot in November, said Massachusetts should expect a governor who will stand up to Trump “not just some of the time, but all of the time. Not just reluctantly, but wholeheartedly.”

“People are going to have a choice—on [transportation], on education, on the opioid crisis, on so many other big challenges we face,” said Gonzalez. “They can vote for a governor who is there right now, who is totally satisfied with the status quo, which is working great for all the privileged and the powerful there, or they can vote for someone who will actually work to make a difference on these issues that will affect regular people’s lives in a real way.”

Pressley, who received a glowing introduction from Sen. Ed Markey, echoed the theme of a Democratic team ready to focus on a common goal.

“This is about actualizing the values that we espouse,” Pressley said. “We get there not by electing politicians, but by electing leaders, which is what we have in Jay Gonzalez."

Also on hand for the event were Gonzalez’s running mate Quentin Palfrey and U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern, Katherine Clark and Joseph Kennedy III, and party chairman Gus Bickford.

Party Chairman Gus Bickford said the party has more field organizers working for the coordinated campaign designed to help Democrats running for state and federal office than any previous year. Campaign staff from the Warren, Neal and Gonzalez teams have transitioned to work for the coordinated campaign, he said.

Bickford said the campaign is operating with $1.7 million -- including more than $1 million from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- and is expected to grow its coffers with contributions from the rest of the Congressional delegation.

Baker and running mate Karyn Polito hold a sizable money advantage over the Democratic ticket and the Republican Governors Association has already spent close to $3 million on ads promoting the governor. The Republican had $6.3 million in the bank at the end of Augus t, compared to $366,000 for Gonzalez. Polito has another $3.8 million on hand that the ticket could tap, while Palfrey ended August with $27,400 in the bank.

State House News Service added reporting to this story.

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