Lindstrom Hits Out at Republican Opponents in Senate Primary

June 30, 2018 GMT

LOWELL - For Senate hopeful Beth Lindstrom to make it to a November face-off with incumbent Elizabeth Warren, she will have to make it through a three-way primary in September.

But Lindstrom is confident in her campaign, arguing that her Republican credentials - as a former executive director of the state party and as a cabinet member during Mitt Romney’s tenure as governor - surpass those of her two opponents, Geoff Diehl and John Kingston.

″(I have) a perspective of understanding politics in Massachusetts for 30 years,” Lindstrom said. “That’s the point, being in and around the party and working with other people to be successful.”

Lindstrom was in Lowell on Monday for campaign events, and she met with editors of The Sun to answer questions regarding her candidacy and her views on key topics.

The Groton native touted herself as a candidate with a fresh perspective because, although she has worked in politics, she has never been a politician herself. Her policy positions vary from moderate to conservative. In an interview, she defended the new tax bill, opposed so-called sanctuary cities and proposed tweaks rather than a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

She criticized Diehl, a state representative, for “looking for the next step” and also for staunch support of the Trump administration despite being registered as a Democrat until 2009. Lindstrom also questioned Kingston’s commitment, alleging he turned his back on the Republican party by helping independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin in 2016.

Lindstrom only mentioned her Republican opponents a handful of times in a lengthy interview, though, far more frequently turning her attention to Warren, whom she called a “firebrand” and a “poster child” for progressivism.

“There’s a lot of people in this Commonwealth that don’t agree with her policies and where she wants to take the country,” Lindstrom said.

Like Diehl, Lindstrom accused Warren of being too focused on advancing a political career. Lindstrom said she finds the senator’s tone “insensitive,” and when asked for an example, she cited Warren’s tweet calling for tighter gun control after a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others at a Las Vegas concert last year. (Warren’s tweet came the morning after the shooting, but Lindstrom described it as occurring “two hours” afterward.) “People from Massachusetts didn’t even know whether their daughters, their kids, their husbands were dead or alive,” Lindstrom said. “Two hours after the shooting? I think that’s a little political.”

Although she criticized Diehl for his degree of Trump support, Lindstrom noted that she voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She said she agrees with the president’s efforts on tax reform and immigration, but disagrees on what she called “the three T’s: tone, temperament and Twitter.” Her criticisms of Warren and Trump are similar in that regard - Lindstrom said she puts them “in the same basket” - but she also said she agrees with Trump on some policies.

Asked if she would welcome Trump’s endorsement if she became the Republican nominee for Senate, Lindstrom took a lengthy pause before saying she would.

On Monday, Lindstrom also criticized Diehl, one of her two opponents in the primary, over debate plans. Lindstrom said in a letter posted to her campaign website that she had agreed to four debates but that she has not yet heard whether Diehl will participate.

“Let’s give the voters an opportunity to hear from us in person,” Lindstrom wrote. “This is not the time to be playing political hide-and-seek.”

Lindstrom’s campaign did not list the dates and locations of each debate, but she said the four separate events have been organized, one each by Boston Herald Radio, UMass Boston hosted by WBUR and the Boston Globe, WCVB’s “On the Record” program, and a televised WGBH debate hosted by Jim Braude.

Holly Robichaud, Diehl’s campaign spokeswoman, said the state representative had in fact agreed to a Boston Herald debate on Aug. 7 and was waiting for confirmation of dates on the other events. In her response, Robichaud referred to Diehl winning the Republican Party’s endorsement at the state convention in May over Lindstrom.

“This is nothing more than a desperation attack by somebody who lost the convention by 30 points,” Robichaud said.

Follow Chris on Twitter @Chris-Lisinski.