Galvin deflects on possible eighth term

Boston Statehouse

Secretary William Galvin, pictured at a press conference the morning after the 2020 presidential election. (Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2020)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Secretary of State William Galvin declined to say whether he would run for an eighth four-year term next year, telling the News Service only that he still enjoys working as the top election official and census liaison for Massachusetts.

“I enjoy my job … I don’t think at this point it’s helpful to get into next year’s election except I very much enjoy my job and I like to think I do a good job at it,” said Galvin, 70, a Boston Democrat. “I have many things to do. That’s why I couldn’t answer your question because I want to plan out a better answer.”

Galvin, like the state’s other Constitutional officers, is up for re-election in the 2022 cycle. The Democratic secretary has served in the office since 1995 when he beat out Democratic candidate Augusto Grace in the party’s primary election and Republican Arthur Chase in the general election.

He previously served as a Democratic House member from 1975 to 1988 for the 19th Suffolk District. After he was first elected to the secretary’s office, Galvin handily won each subsequent general election — 1998 to 2018 — with at least 64 percent of the vote in each of the four year cycles.

He has only drawn a primary challenger for the secretary’s office twice in his career, once in 2006 from constitutional law attorney John Bonifaz and again in 2018 from then Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim.

Zakim won the endorsement of Democratic Party delegates at their convention that year, setting himself up as one of the first major challenges to Galvin’s campaign since taking over as secretary. But Galvin defeated Zakim in that year’s Democratic primary with 67 percent of the vote compared to Zakim’s 32 percent.

Based on his record in elections, Galvin would be a formidable opponent next year should he run again, and if he opts out that decision would create a rare opening for elected officials and others interested in pursuing a high-profile statewide office.

Over the past year, Galvin has overseen an expanded elections process where he managed the rollout of voting by mail as COVID-19 restrictions kept many people at home. Since the start of the pandemic, the secretary has become a vocal advocate for the measure, most recently sponsoring legislation (S 468) from state Sen. Barry Finegold that would cement voting by mail in state law.

Galvin has over $566,000 in campaign funds to rely on should he decide to run again, according to data from the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. He raised just over $46,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31, the data shows, and spent roughly $3,200 over the same period.

When asked in November 2017 if he would seek a seventh term in 2018, Galvin didn’t hesitate with his response.

“I’m running,” he told the News Service, adding that ensuring an accurate 2020 Census count was among his priorities.

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