Taunton senator weighing possible run for state auditor

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Veteran Sen. Marc Pacheco has been calling allies in recent weeks to discuss a potential run for state auditor next year, multiple sources told the News Service.

Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat, has not made a final decision on whether to join the growing field of auditor candidates in 2022 and appears to be gauging support. But his movement behind the scenes indicates he is considering a bid for statewide office after more than three decades in the Legislature.

The longest-tenured sitting member of the Senate, Pacheco has been a vocal proponent for action to address climate change. He was the lead sponsor of the landmark 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act and has been a prominent advocate for organized labor.

A source close to Pacheco told the News Service that he has held “numerous conversations with labor leaders and advocates” about a possible auditor candidacy. Two other sources confirmed that they had received such phone calls from the longtime senator in the past week and a half.

“He’s putting some feelers out there,” said one source who received a call from the senator.

Pacheco’s office declined to comment when asked about his interest in the auditor’s position.

The 68-year-old lawmaker was elected to the House in 1988 and then won his first Senate race in 1992. Since then, he has secured reelection with little opposition every cycle, never facing a Democratic primary challenger and earning at least 58 percent of the vote any time he had a general election opponent.

During his 15 terms in the Senate, Pacheco has authored several landmark bills, including the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act that required the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Pacheco pressed his colleagues to take more significant climate action in the years that followed, and in March, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation committing Massachusetts to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Another major Pacheco legislative accomplishment, sometimes referred to as simply the “Pacheco Law,” requires the state auditor to review any proposal to privatize work done by state employees and ensure that it will both save money and maintain the same level of service.

Former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg elevated Pacheco to president pro tempore, the chamber’s number-three Democrat position, in 2015. He spent only a few years in the leadership hierarchy, and current President Karen Spilka replaced Pacheco as president pro tempore with Sen. William Brownsberger in 2019 during her first full term leading the Senate.

Pacheco then led the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, but Democratic leadership replaced him as the panel’s chair with Sen. Cynthia Creem in February. He continues to co-chair the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

In 2001, Pacheco placed fourth in a special Democratic primary, topped by now-U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, for the 9th Congressional District.

The field for state auditor has rapidly taken shape since Bump, only the second auditor since 1986, announced on May 25 that she would not seek another term.

Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff and Methuen Sen. Diana DiZoglio, both Democrats, have announced they will run for the seat. Transportation for Massachusetts Executive Director Chris Dempsey started fundraising for an auditor’s campaign last week and brought in about $50,000 by Monday, according to a source.

If Pacheco opts to run for statewide office, it would open up competition for his seat in the Senate for the first time since the Clinton administration. The district includes Taunton, Bridgewater, Middleborough, Dighton, Berkley, Raynham, Carver, Marion, and Wareham.

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