Palfrey leaves federal job to pursue AG candidacy

Boston Statehouse
Boston State House

Boston State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – Quentin Palfrey, the last Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, has left his job in the Biden administration to begin laying the groundwork for a campaign for attorney general in 2022, a person close to Palfrey confirmed.

Palfrey ran in 2018 for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Gonzalez, but the pair failed to gain traction with voters, including Democrats who were mostly happy with the job Gov. Charlie Baker had been doing. Four years later, Palfrey is now eyeing the attorney general’s office should Attorney General Maura Healey leave to run for governor next year, or not seek a third term for another reason.

Palfrey would not run if Healey decided to run for reelection, the person close to Palfrey said. His intention to seek the office was first reported Monday afternoon by The Boston Globe. A former assistant attorney general and the first chief of the office’s health care division, Palfrey went on to serve in the Obama and Biden administrations, beginning as senior advisor for jobs and competitiveness in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology policy under President Obama.

Most recently, Palfrey left a job last week as acting general counsel in the Commerce Department under Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the former governor of Rhode Island. Palfrey, who still has $12,517 in his campaign account from his run for lieutenant governor, is in the process of transitioning that committee to support a run for attorney general, and intends to begin reaching out to operatives, donors and others who could provide support.

Palfrey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He has led several non-profits, including his recent work with the Voter Protection Corps that included advocating on Beacon Hill for pandemic voting reforms such as expanded early and mail-in balloting and same-day voter registration.

With many Democrats waiting to see what Healey will do, Palfrey is the first to publicly state his interest in the attorney general’s seat. Party insiders have also pointed to Sen. Eric Lesser, Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards and NAACP Boston President Tanisha Sullivan as potential candidates. Healey said in a recent interview on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio” she would have more to say about her future in the fall.

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