The Massachusetts political season leading into the midterms has generally been drama-free. Nothing wrong with that. Let New York and its repugnant negative ads making Albany television hard to watch, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin and a few other states have the fireworks.

But the placid campaign doesn’t make the election any less important. The state will be choosing a new governor atop a full slate of races. If you haven’t voted early, the polls will be open on Tuesday. Here’s how the Berkshire and state races stand.


Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey has maintained a lead of between 25 and 30 points over Republican Geoff Diehl since the primary elections. She has consistently high approval ratings, including among those who said they voted for popular moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who chose not to run for a third term.

Diehl has been traveling around Massachusetts crankily responding to questions about his fluctuating stances on the 2020 presidential election. Diehl has said alternatively that Joe Biden was elected, Donald Trump was robbed and there was the potential for fraud in the election. If Diehl had consistently offered the correct answer — Biden won the election fair and square — he would have avoided the badgering but would have angered the former president and his election-denying supporters.

Just as significantly, Diehl, by adhering to far-right positions, has not given the independent voters who put Baker in office twice any reason to vote for him. This failure led to Diehl’s one-sided loss to Elizabeth Warren in the 2018 senatorial race, and he has again adhered to party doctrine rather than reach out to potential voters in a state where Republicans make up just 10 percent of the electorate.

Prediction: Maura Healey and lieutenant governor running mate Kimberly Driscoll win.

Attorney general

Andrea Campbell, a Black woman and former Boston city councilor, brings a legal background that is varied and extensive and holds positions that are in tune with the electorate. The abortion issue illustrates the differences between her and Republican opponent Jay McMahon.

Campbell promises to protect abortion rights in the state against efforts to make abortion illegal nationally. McMahon hedges on whether he would enforce such a ban in the state. In fact, he has hedged on several boilerplate GOP stances that are unpopular in Massachusetts.

Prediction: Andrea Campbell wins.

Secretary of the commonwealth

Like Andrea Campbell, Democrat William Galvin enjoys a large lead in the polls over his opponent, Republican Rayla Campbell. The secretary’s duties are many, but most prominent are the enforcement of voter rights and the protection of election integrity. Galvin has done both in his seven terms in office.

Campbell disqualified herself as an independent election arbiter when she demonized Democrats at the Republican State Convention. She opposes early and mail-in voting and during the campaign has drawn attention for gay-bashing statements and ads.

Prediction: William Galvin wins.


Republican Anthony Amore is a moderate Baker-style Republican, and as such is an endangered species. He has vastly more experience than does his opponent, Democratic state Rep. Diana DiZoglio, in the kinds of investigatory work the overseer of state government is required to do.

The records of Amore’s divorce of 13 years ago have recently become public and include allegations of abuse which the candidate denies. This may or may not influence voters, but the reality is that party-line voting is the norm, and it would be surprising if many voters who back Healey and friends detour to Amore.

Prediction: Diana DiZoglio wins.

Governor’s Council

Democrat Tara Jacobs of North Adams should benefit from party-line voting in her race against Republican John Comerford.

Governor’s Council is an invisible board except when it oversteps its advisory role. The council is in dire need of openness, and if Jacobs can bring some level of transparency to it, she will have accomplished something rare and perhaps paved the way for a more high-profile state office.

Prediction: Tara Jacobs wins.

Berkshire state offices

Democratic State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, running for reelection in the redrawn 3rd Berkshire District, boasts nearly 20 years of experience and a history of advocating for the kind of regional solutions the oft-overlooked Berkshires and Western Massachusetts require. His challenger, Becket Select Board member Michael Lavery, has government experience and ideas in sync with his district, but if you can reelect a Democratic progressive who has built seniority, there is no strong argument for backing a candidate from the Green-Rainbow Party.

The Berkshires’ already huge state Senate district is expanding eastward into three other counties because of redistricting. Representing all of these mostly rural towns will pose a challenge, one that Paul Mark is accustomed to meeting in his years as a state representative for a rural district that is being redistricted into oblivion. His opponent, Brendan Phair, a conservative running as an independent, doesn’t have this experience. His opposition to the ROE Act assuring abortion protection and skepticism about gun control and climate change efforts should concern voters. In contrast, Mark has a strong record on these important issues.

Prediction: Smitty Pignatelli and Paul Mark win.

U.S. Congress

Democratic Rep. Richard Neal is facing a Republican challenger for the first time in a decade in Dean Martilli. Competition is good for democracy, but Martilli, who has adopted familiar far-right positions like opposition to “illegals” and has asserted without convincing evidence that East-West rail will only help the eastern end of the state, hasn’t made the case for ousting a veteran incumbent.

Neal demonstrated both his belief in government as a force for good and his experience in operating the levers of government in assuring that COVID relief efforts passed Congress and made their way to Western Massachusetts. With control of Congress hanging in the balance, keeping a Democrat in the Western Mass. seat should be important to voters.

Prediction: Richard Neal wins.

Bill Everhart is The Eagle’s former editorial page editor.