State Auditor Bump not running for 4th term

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (State House News Service)–Auditor Suzanne Bump, a Democrat who has spent more than 20 years working on Beacon Hill in various public roles, said Tuesday she would not seek a fourth term, creating a rare opening in one of the six statewide offices and becoming the first domino of the 2022 election cycle to fall. 

Bump, who was also a state lawmaker and labor secretary under Gov. Deval Patrick, said she wanted to make way for “another leader who shares my commitment to making government work better and building the public trust to pursue this mission.”

The role of the state auditor is not one that often gets a lot of attention, but Bump said she has improved the standards and operations of the office to make it a nationally recognized model. “I am as dedicated to my office’s mission of transparency and accountability as I was in 2011, and I am enormously proud of the continuing financial and human impact we make through our work in the Auditor’s office. And yet, I will not seek re-election next year,” Bump said in a statement.

There have been just two auditors since 1986, with the late Joseph DeNucci holding on to the post for 25 years before giving way to Bump in 2011. She is the first of the six constitutional office holders to announce their plans for 2022.

“I do not intend to be a candidate for higher office, but I do look forward to future opportunities to advocate for and to further efforts to achieve greater transparency and accountability in government,” Bump said.

While the news of Bump’s plans was still fresh, already speculation was building about who might run to replace her. Chris Dempsey, a well-know transportation advocate, called Bump a “remarkable and effective” public servant, hinting at his own ambition for the job, but giving Bump space on the day she announced her decision.

In addition to leading Transportation for Massachusetts, Dempsey was a driving force behind the effort to oppose Boston’s 2024 bid for the Olympics. “In the coming days, I will have more to say about my own intentions for this critical elected position. Today, I join many others in expressing my sincere admiration and appreciation for Suzanne’s years of service as a constitutional officer, Cabinet member and legislator,” Dempsey said in a statement. “I wish her well in the next phase of her career and am grateful for our continued friendship.” 

Democrats said Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff were also among those being looked at as a potential contenders for the seat. Duff congratulated Bump on an “exemplary career,” adding in a Tweet: “There are many challenges facing our commonwealth. I look forward to hearing from residents in every corner of the state.”

DiZoglio recently called on Bump to take an active role in investigating how the Baker administration awarded contracts for vaccine distribution to private vendors, and previously tried to pressure the auditor to investigate the state’s use of non-disclosure agreements.

DiZoglio told the News Service she was “surprised” by the news Tuesday morning that Bump would not seek reelection. “This week I am working hard on the budget to pass several provisions to help our restaurants and am also carrying some amendments to help increase staff morale on Beacon Hill. There’s plenty of time to talk politics, but right now we have work to do,” the Methuen Democrat said.

When she ran for a third term in 2018, Bump said her office had identified more than $1.3 billion in government waste, inefficiency and fraud. She also generated headlines over the years with audits that looked at welfare benefits being sent to dead people, and a lack of known addresses for nearly 1,800 sex offenders.

In 2010, Bump edged Republican Mary Connaughton to succeed DeNucci, who she criticized upon taking office for allowing the standards of the office to slide. “I have moved this office from falling short of government standards to being nationally recognized for its high standards. I have been committed to ensuring that we model the behavior we want from our auditees – adherence to our public service mission, effective use of our resources, and transparency in our operations. It has enhanced our ability and impact,” Bump said.

She coasted to easier wins in 2014 against Patricia St. Aubin and in 2018 against Helen Brady.

Prior to running for auditor, Bump spent 10 years in the Legislature as a representative from Braintree and went on to serve in Patrick’s Cabinet for three years as labor secretary. In between those public roles, she worked as a lobbyist. “I am grateful to the voters of the Commonwealth for putting their faith in me and to my colleagues in government for their collaboration. This has been a thrill and an honor I never envisioned when I first walked into the State House as a legislative intern in 1978,” Bump said.

Gov. Charlie Baker has not said whether he intends to seek a third-term next year, which will be a determining factor in what Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito decides to do also.

Longtime Secretary of State William Galvin has also not made a firm decision on 2022, though he said recently he was leaning toward running for another term, and Treasurer Deb Goldberg has not talked about her plans, though last year she considered and ultimately decided against running for an open seat in Congress because she said she enjoyed what she was doing at Treasury.

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