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Battenfeld: AG Maura Healey’s biggest obstacle to running for governor not Charlie Baker – Boston Herald

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Attorney General Maura Healey’s biggest obstacle to the governor’s office is not Republican Charlie Baker — it’s two Democratic women each trying to make history like Boston Mayor-elect Michelle Wu.
Healey’s will she or won’t she dance with the governor’s race is often focused on Baker and his imminent decision on whether or not to run for a third term.
But what’s really taking Healey so long is not the prospect of running against Baker — it’s the daunting potential of running against two strong women of color in her own party.
By taking so long to make a decision on her future, Healey has allowed Democratic candidates Danielle Allen and Sonia Chang-Diaz to steal some of her storyline and fundraising clout.
Allen would be the first African American woman and Chang-Diaz would be the first Latinx candidate to win the Corner Office. And they’re already showing that they shouldn’t be taken lightly by Healey or anyone else.
And it’s still possible that another surprise Dem like U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley surfaces in the next few months as a gubernatorial challenger.
The question now is does Healey have the stomach for a 2022 run, or will she bow out gracefully and run for another term as AG, with her eye on maybe a Senate race or other prominent post down the road. If she loses a governor’s race next year it’s a political career-ender for her. That’s a big risk.
Even if she wins the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, would there be resentment that Healey, the first openly gay AG, beat two women of color in a messy primary?
Healey – once considered the strongest potential Democratic candidate — has made a puzzling decision to wait this long, making it seem like she’s holding off waiting to see what Baker does.
The conventional wisdom now is that if Baker runs, Healey is less likely to be all in. And that’s a poor optic for Healey. Makes her look less than courageous.
Healey insists she isn’t waiting on Baker, but her indecision until now makes her no longer the major threat to the Republican governor.
Baker would face a competitive race against Healey, but it may be Allen and Chang-Diaz who could be even stronger candidates.
All you have to do is look at the Boston mayor’s race to see what a powerful weapon progressive candidates of color have against their opponents.
While Wu’s opponent, Annissa Essaibi George, identifies as a woman of color (she’s half Tunisian) she had no shot against Wu, the first woman and first Asian American to win the Boston mayor’s seat vacated by now U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
Wu assembled an impressive coalition of white liberals, Blacks and Asian Americans to romp over the more moderate Essaibi George.
If Allen or Chang-Diaz catches fire in the coming months, they could potentially win the same type of coalition statewide that Wu assembled in Boston.
Healey is an impressive campaigner and a good politician, so she can’t be taken lightly. But she’s lost some of her fastball now that her chief nemesis, Donald Trump, is gone.
But there’s a chance Healey missed her opportunity by taking a pass on running in 2018.
Now it may be too late.
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