Tuesday will mark one of the most nationally-charged elections in recent Massachusetts history, with voters asked to decide local and statewide races amid inescapable national undercurrents.

With the exception of the governor's race, each incumbent is a Democrat known to voters, leaving the slate of Republican challengers with a choice between following the moderate message of Gov. Charlie Baker or embracing the populist style of President Donald Trump and the national GOP.

The Democrats in office, alongside their gubernatorial candidate, are unified in their opposition to the president. The Republican Party is scattered, with candidates across the spectrum.

U.S. Senate

If Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Geoff Diehl had his way, the election would be a referendum on the performance of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's time in office and her national profile. Instead, the race more resembles a referendum on Warren's chief antagonist, Trump.

If polls are to be believed, voters seem to like having Warren in Washington to combat Trump, even if they don't really want to see her take over the Oval Office in 2020. Warren led in MassINC's poll from late October with 54 percent to Diehl's 32 percent.

Diehl built his statewide profile first as a crusader against indexing the gas tax to inflation, then by hitching his political wagon to candidate Trump as the co-chair of his campaign in Massachusetts. There, Diehl's wagon has remained hitched, as Warren has sought to paint the Whitman Republican not as the independent Massachusetts-first bridge-builder he's pitching himself as, but as a would-be Trump Republican set to enthusiastically back up the president's agenda.

Diehl's own deeply conservative record hasn't done him any favors as he's traveled the state in an RV adorned with his own everyman image. Voters hungry to boot Warren out of office, whether they like Trump or not, are all in for Diehl. But the coalition of Republicans and right-leaning Democrats and independents that elected Gov. Charlie Baker and former Sen. Scott Brown could see itself swallowed up by an energized and nationalized electorate looking to send Trump a message through their warrior Warren.


Those unfamiliar with Massachusetts state politics often wonder why the bastion of liberal America keeps electing Republican governors. In Gov. Charlie Baker's case, the answer is simple: he can be pretty liberal, especially when the Democrat-dominated Legislature gets its act together and persuades him sign laws like this year's paid family leave act, which raised taxes on payrolls (tax) to pay for a new public entitlement (and spend).

Baker's moderate stances and get-long attitude with Democrats is the chief reason Democratic nominee Jay Gonzalez has gained little traction on the uber-popular Baker after months of broadsides about the incumbent's management record and a series of departmental scandals. A few weeks before Election Day, MassINC Polling Group found Baker ahead with 68 percent to Gonzalez's 25 percent. Worse yet for the progressive Gonzalez, the same poll found more Democratic voters, 48 percent, would support Baker over their own party's candidate, who garnered just 45 percent.

Gonzalez, a top aide under former Gov. Deval Patrick, is seeking to restore the Patrick dynasty, the only eight-year period in roughly the last three decades with a Democratic governor. To do so, he's tried to focus Democratic outrage for Trump and the Washington, D.C. GOP back toward their party-mate Baker. The Gonzalez message has been less about Baker making the wrong choices and more about those choices simply being "not enough" to satisfy the progressive masses.

It hasn't worked. The voters of Massachusetts, notorious for always being ready to split a ticket between parties, seem to like having Baker in office. Perhaps even worse for Gonzalez, his fundraising has trailed Baker ten-to-one throughout the campaign and polls show about 30 percent of likely voters hadn't even heard of Gonzalez.

Third District

Pepperell businessman Rick Green switched from conservative activist to Republican congressional candidate after Democratic Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announced her retirement. Likewise, Democrat Lori Trahan, a former top aide to Tsongas' predecessor Marty Meehan, also upgraded from staffer to candidate before beating back almost a dozen other Democrats for her party's nomination in the 3rd Congressional District.

Green and Trahan face off on Election Day from across the partisan divide. Green is focusing his message on a bootstrap conservatism based on small business acumen, accountability and rule of law. Green, the co-founder of an auto repair retailer, lists the opioid crisis and dysfunctional government as his top concerns.

Trahan's message since winning the close primary and subsequent recount is simple: Massachusetts shouldn't send a single Republican, no matter how moderate, to Donald Trump's Republican Congress. With control of the House of Representatives in the balance, a surprise victory by Green could have a massive impact on the 116th Congress.

Tsongas won the Lowell-based seat vacated by Meehan in 2007 with 51 percent against Republican Jim Ogonowski's 45 percent.

Independent candidate Michael Mullen will also appear on the ballot.

Ninth District

Peter Tedeschi, GOP candidate for the Cape Cod and South Shore Congressional District, may be best known in Massachusetts for running his family's namesake chain of convenience stores, but the moderate Republican has given incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Keating one of his strongest electoral challenges since taking office in 2013.

Tedeschi is perhaps the closest thing to a "Charlie Baker Republican" on the ballot besides the governor himself.

Keating, a former state senator and district attorney, has held the seat since 2013 and serves in the minority on the foreign affairs and homeland security committees.

The district, which includes the eastern half of southeastern Mass. and all of Cape Cod and the islands, voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump by 10.6 points in 2016. There are pockets of GOP support up and down the coast, though, and Tedeschi's above-average name recognition and endorsement by Baker could aid his candidacy.

Attorney General

Attorney General Maura Healey was handed a lavish gift by the conservative GOP electorate that loathes her: the nomination of deeply conservative lawyer Jay McMahon as her challenger for a second term.

McMahon is perhaps the candidate most in tune with President Donald Trump's policy positions and rhetoric that Massachusetts has to offer this year. The Bourne Attorney beat out the more moderate Dan Shores with a red meat campaign based around the resumption of the "war on drugs," against opiate traffickers. It's an issue close to McMahon, who's seen the opioid epidemic first-hand on the Cape and lost his own son to addiction.

Healey has crafted a reputation as a progressive champion and has turned down few opportunities to challenge Trump's policies in federal court, often in tandem with other Democratic attorneys general. Healey is, in voice and deed, the Bay State's foremost exponent of "the resistance."

Secretary of State

Republicans try again and again to convince voters to get rid of Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's long-time warden of the elections, corporate governance and historic preservation bureaucracies.

This year was different, with upstart Josh Zakim attempting to retire Galvin in the Democratic primary election. Zakim was soundly defeated, but Republican nominee Anthony Amore hopes his target was softened up in the preliminary stages.

Amore has worked as a security chief for both Logan Airport (post-9/11) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (post-heist) where he says he's tried to balance public access with modern security needs.

Security is the top issue in the race. Galvin, ever of the old school, says the state's time-tested paper ballot system is secure in the age of digital spies and foreign election interference. Amore wants to go further with modernization and has accused Galvin of not doing enough to prevent minor occurrences of voter fraud.

And then there are the traditional Republican criticisms of Galvin's quarter century in office: that he promotes himself through state educational programs, that he rewards campaign donations with tax credits under his control and that he's not doing all he can to secure election integrity.

Galvin has run his campaign according to the playbook preferred by most Democrats in 2018 — that is, tie your opponent to Donald Trump. When it comes to the secretary's role, that means linking Amore to GOP positions on asking for immigration status on the census, voter ID laws and unsubstantiated hysteria over voter fraud.

Juan Sanchez of Holyoke is also on the ballot, representing the Green-Rainbow Party.


Treasurer Deborah Goldberg faces Republican Keiko Orrall, a Lakeville state representative who's giving up her seat in the House to challenge Goldberg's attempt at a second term.

Beyond the bookkeeping, the treasurer's office oversees the Massachusetts lottery, alcohol regulations, financial education programs, unclaimed property and more.

Orrall, a popular GOP member at the State House and one of the state's two members on the Republican Party's national committee, says Goldberg could be doing a better job managing the lottery and calls the organization's move from Braintree to office space in Dorchester wasteful.

Goldberg has overseen the lottery at a time when its revenues are at an all-time high, over $1 billion in 2017, which funds cities and towns as well as school construction.

Also on the ballot is Jamie Guerin of Northampton, the Green-Rainbow candidate.


The race for state auditor has been the sleepiest of Massachusetts' six constitutional office races. Democratic incumbent Suzanne Bump is seeking a third term in which she hopes to continue work identifying waste and fraud within state agencies like MassHealth and the Department of Children and Families.

Challenger Helen Brady hasn't gained much traction on the campaign trail. Even the usually conservative Boston Herald chose to endorse Bump over the political neophyte Brady, a South Shore native and Concord resident who's worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Brady, running under the slogan "Give 'Em Helen," says she wants to expand audits into DCF and be part of Gov. Baker's "deeper bench" in office to help police the spending practices of the Democratic Legislature.

There are two third-party candidates in the race for auditor: Libertarian Daniel Fishman of Beverly and Green-Rainbow nominee Edward Stamas of Northampton.