BOSTON (State House News Service) – Attorney General Maura Healey, the state’s top law enforcement official, is telling Democrats and allies that she has decided to run for governor, preparing to enter a 2022 field where she will instantly be the most well-known and well-financed candidate as she looks to regain the corner office for her party.
Healey, 50, spent time Wednesday informing allies and other party leaders of her decision, and could formally announce her campaign as soon as Thursday morning, according to sources familiar with the planning. Two of her top political advisors declined to comment.
With Gov. Charlie Baker opting against seeking a third term, Democrats have grown increasingly optimistic about their chances in November. Two Democrats are already in the race, but many in the party have been waiting anxiously to see what Healey would do.
The two-term attorney general made a name for herself during former President Donald Trump’s years in the White House as one of many Democratic prosecutors across the country who filed dozens of lawsuits against the Republican administration over the enforcement of everything from environmental regulations and to immigration policy.
Healey has also fought to protect abortion rights around the country, sued opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma and took on student loan companies that she thought were taking advantage of borrowers.
“Everyone’s waiting on pins and needles because this is eagerly awaited,” said Norma Shulman, a Democratic State Committee member.
Shulman said she had not spoken with Healey about her decision, but had told other candidates in the race that she was waiting to see if the attorney general would run before committing.
“She could run for dog catcher and I’d probably be with her. I love the other candidates and all three of them, before Ben Downing dropped out, are terrific people, but I’m on Team Healey,” Shulman said. “I think she’s really direct and committed and determined and doesn’t mess around with things that are important. She steps up into the fight.”
The Democratic field for governor currently includes Boston Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Harvard professor Danielle Allen, but neither has the name recognition as Healey. Former state Sen. Ben Downing also campaigned for much of the past year, but dropped out in December citing a lack of financial resources.
Chang-Diaz issued a statement Wednesday evening welcoming Healey to the race.
“In this time of crisis, we need a robust conversation about how our government serves working families and meets our biggest challenges. Maura and I have differing records when it comes to priorities and governing, and I look forward to her joining the ongoing conversation we’re having with voters across Massachusetts,” Chang-Diaz said.
The attorney general is sitting on a campaign account with nearly $3.7 million, easily making her the most well-financed candidate in the race so far on either the Democratic or Republican side, which currently includes only former Rep. Geoff Diehl.
In running for governor as the incumbent attorney general, Healey will be attempting to do what three of her predecessors in the office — all Democrats – have tried and failed over the past 24 years. Former Attorneys General Scott Harshbarger, Tom Reilly and Martha Coakley all ran for governor and lost.