Maura Healey’s Democratic rival drops out of Massachusetts governor race

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Democratic primary for governor is over.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, the last remaining Democrat running against frontrunner and state Attorney General Maura Healey, ended her campaign for governor on Thursday, one year to the day after she launched her bid.

Chang-Díaz, a veteran state lawmaker who would have been the state’s first Latina and first Asian American governor, said she had no viable path to the corner office.

“I have never shied away from being honest, even when it is hard. And that is why I’m being honest with my supporters today,” Chang-Díaz told reporters in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, flanked by a small group of supporters including her astronaut father.

“I have looked at the numbers every way — every which way,” she said. “And unfortunately there is no path that I can responsibly, in good faith, lead my supporters on that results in me becoming governor this year.”

Chang-Díaz’s name will remain on the ballot, since the deadline to remove it has passed.

But instead of actively campaigning for governor, Chang-Díaz said she would instead be turning her efforts toward supporting a slate of “Courage Democrats” — a group of state legislative and county district attorney hopefuls — who align with her progressive policy values and who joined her for her Thursday morning announcement.

Chang-Díaz has trailed Healey by every measure — fundraising, public polling and endorsements — since the two-term attorney general entered the race in January and went on to win the party’s endorsement by a resounding 71 percent at the state Democratic convention earlier this month.

Healey, in a statement, said she was “deeply grateful” to Chang-Díaz for her “years of service to Massachusetts and her inspired leadership” during this campaign.

“I look forward to continuing to partner with Senator Chang-Díaz to bring people together and make Massachusetts work for all of our families,” Healey said.

Chang-Díaz didn’t immediately throw her support behind Healey. But her exit means Healey has succeeded in clearing the primary field more than two months before the Sept. 6 contest, leaving her free to pivot to a general-election campaign.

“This is a huge advantage for Maura Healey,” Boston-based Democratic consultant Mary Anne Marsh, who isn’t working for either candidate, said in an interview.

“While Republicans still have a primary that is unlikely to end before September, for Healey this is reminiscent of what Joe Biden was able to do with the South Carolina primary,” Marsh said. “Healey now has the opportunity to show people what kind of governor she’s going to be and build a true mandate.”

Healey will face either Donald Trump-endorsed former state Rep. Geoff Diehl or businessman Chris Doughty in November. Diehl won the state Republican Party’s endorsement for governor in May by the same margin as Healey won hers. But both candidates trail Healey by double digits in public polling of hypothetical general-election matchups. And Diehl lost his last statewide race, a challenge to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in 2018.

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