Geoff Diehl says he’s the ‘underdog’ most likely to win the Republican nomination for governor

Geoff Diehl says he’s the “underdog” and ready to land the party nomination on next November’s ballot.

“This state has a history of being willing to look at Republicans who have a history of focusing on what’s important for the state and issues that are important for the state,” Diehl said.

Diehl, an avowed conservative, offers a counterweight to the growing number of progressive Democrats making a bid for the corner office. The Whitman resident hits heavily in favor of ramping up support for law enforcement, imposing stricter immigration laws and lowering taxes.

He says that balance would hold up even if Baker decides to run, accusing the governor’s politics of falling “slightly left of center.”

In his eight years serving as a state representative on Beacon Hill, Diehl said he connected with voters through his efforts leading the charge against raising the gas tax and other “pocketbook” issues where he says the Democrat-led Legislature often misses the mark.

Though Diehl came up short in recent state and federal races, he captured 55% of the votes in his last statewide Republican primary in 2018 before ultimately losing to incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He says those numbers prove he’s ready to take on statewide office.

In some counties — including Barnstable, Suffolk, Norfolk, Nantucket, Essex and Bristol — he swept the primary vote in every town.

As Diehl sizes himself up against the incumbent governor, it brings to focus to a fissure that has erupted within the state Republican Party pitting supporters of the Diehl brand of politics versus the more moderate Baker Republicans.

Diehl, a Donald Trump supporter who co-chaired the former president’s 2016 campaign efforts in Massachusetts, is ideologically at odds with Baker. The state committee, on which Diehl serves, moved to censure Baker after the governor signaled his support for impeaching Trump in the fallout over the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

But the former state representative appeared to distance himself from the political hot potato that is Trump, telling reporters he would “rather leave national politics out of this race” when asked if he would seek the former president’s endorsement.

Perennially popular among voters, Baker remains on the fence about a third term. Just one other Republican, Darius Mitchell of Lowell, has filed paperwork with the state as a candidate and previously told the Herald he was “considering a run.”

On the Dems’ side, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, former state Sen. Ben Downing and Harvard professor and political adviser Danielle Allen have announced their 2022 bids.

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey is also widely rumored to be considering a run. Quincy resident Scott Khourie and Orlando Silva of Shrewsbury have filed candidacy paperwork.

Read More