If Maura Healey Runs for Mass. Governor, How Would She Fare?

Most observers think Healey would be the instant frontrunner, though attorneys general do not have a good track record running for governor in Massachusetts

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Just about every conversation about the now wide open Massachusetts governor's race starts out with the same question: Will Attorney General Maura Healey get in?

Boston University Professor Tom Whalen expects she will: "She's the giant in the political field. Of the Democrats, she's the best possible choice they have."



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Despite the three Democrats already in the field -- which won't feature Gov. Charlie Baker -- most observers think Healey would be the instant frontrunner. She has $3.3 million in her war chest and has made a name for herself nationally.

"She is constantly on the news on various hot-button issues," Whalen said.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced they won’t be seeking reelection in 2022, setting up what could be an intense campaign for the state house.

But if she does run, Healey would face obstacles.

"I don't think it's a cakewalk for Maura Healey," UMass Boston Professor Erin O'Brien said.

She explained that Healey would be the most moderate of the very progressive Democratic candidates -- which would play well for Healey in the general election, but not the primary.

And, O'Brien said, "Where do the Bernie folks go? Where does the Markeyverse go? Where does Michelle Wu's more progressive team go?"

Moreover, attorneys general do not have a good track record running for governor in Massachusetts. The last time an attorney general was elected was the 1940s, Whalen noted.

"When you're attorney general, you make a lot of enemies. Particularly in the business world," he said.

Massachusetts will elect a new governor in 2022, with Charlie Baker opting not to run for reelection.

And if former Boston Mayor and now U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh decides to jump in, Whalen said, their primary would be "a heavyweight bout."

It is believed Walsh would likely stay out of the race if Healey gets in. But Walsh would be the most moderate Democrat and the closest thing to Baker's successor.

Other possible wild card entries into the governor's race? Whalen suggested keeping an eye on Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and former Congressman Joe Kennedy.

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