Former President Donald Trump has weighed in on the Massachusetts Republican race for governor in 2022, backing a co-chair of his 2016 campaign.
Geoff Diehl has been running to replace Gov. Charlie Baker, another Republican, who Trump called a Republican in name only while endorsing Diehl in the primary Tuesday.
"Baker is definitely not an American First or Make America Great Again kind of guy. Geoff Diehl, on the other hand, is a true patriot, a believer in low energy costs and our independent energy policy," Trump said in a news release.
Diehl, a former state representative who co-chaired former Trump's 2016 campaign in Massachusetts, announced his candidacy for governor on July 4.
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"I’ve always believed in what he has believed in -- a stronger America," Diehl said in an interview Wednesday, noting he and his campaign are excited about the endorsement.
Both he and Trump have been critical of Baker, a centrist Republican who's been vocal about opposing many Trump policies, as well as his baseless opposition to the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden, leading to many tete-a-tetes between the White House and Beacon Hill.
Baker didn't support Trump's own re-election bid either, though he hasn't said if he'll run for a third term in Massachusetts. Several Democrats have entered the race.
When Diehl entered the race, he criticized state and federal regulations put in place during the coronavirus pandemic and their impact on small businesses. He also condemned Baker's participation in the bipartisan Transportation and Climate Initiative with other regional governors.
Diehl previously ran for statewide office in 2018 in an effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He lost to her by a margin of more than 24 points.
Any Republican looking to win a primary wants Trump's endorsement, thanks to the former president's persistent popularity among GOP voters, InsideSources Publisher Michael Graham said.
But in the general election in a very blue state like Massachusetts, where Trump has a 29% approval rating, the Trump endorsement becomes irrelevant, he said.
"The only person that is going to win the governorship who is not a Democrat is Charlie Baker," Graham said.
Massachusetts' general election in 2022 will be held Nov. 8.