Massachusetts Democrats gather for state party’s convention

June 1, 2018 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Thousands of activists from across the state are gathering in Worcester for the start of the two-day Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention.

Friday’s highlights were to include speeches by Democrats running unopposed in the September primary, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and state Attorney General Maura Healey.

The real work of the convention begins at the DC Center on Saturday, when delegates will hear from candidates in contested Democratic primaries, including the race to choose a challenger to incumbent Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in November.


The two candidates vying for the Democratic nod for governor are Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie. Gonzalez served as state secretary of administration and finance under former Gov. Deval Patrick. Massie, a businessman and environmental activist, was a nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994. The pair will need all the support they can get from fellow Democrats.

Baker has cast himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate and has distanced himself from President Donald Trump. He remains popular among Massachusetts voters and is sitting on an $8 million campaign war chest. Gonzalez has about $132,000, and Massie has $24,000.

In other contested races, Boston city councilor Josh Zakim is challenging incumbent Democratic state Secretary William Galvin, and comic Jimmy Tingle is competing against former White House policy adviser Quentin Palfrey for the lieutenant governor slot.

To secure a spot on the September primary ballot a candidate must receive the support of at least 15 percent of the delegates. To get the party’s formal endorsement a candidate needs the vote of more than half of the delegates.

While reclaiming the governor’s office is the party’s top goal, maintaining its dominance across the state’s political landscape is also a key objective.

The party holds overwhelming majorities in the Massachusetts House and Senate, every seat in the state’s congressional delegation and every statewide office except for governor and lieutenant governor, who run as a team in the general election.

Democrats also have a huge motivating factor in Trump, who routinely outrages Democrats, particularly the liberal kind in Massachusetts drawn to their party convention. One challenge is to find a way to funnel that outrage.


Warren, the state’s most prominent Democrat, is an outspoken foe of the Republican president. Although she faces no primary challenge, she has been talked about as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, a notion she has routinely dismissed.

First, she will go up against the winner of a three-way Republican primary pitting state Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Trump supporter, against Beth Lindstrom, who served in the cabinet of former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, and John Kingston, a business executive.

Other speakers on Saturday include House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Harriette Chandler and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who is not facing election this year.