Kate Campanale launched her campaign as Chris Doughty’s unofficial running mate.
Courtesy of State House News Service

The 2022 Massachusetts governor's race is heating up — and raising questions about what it means to be a Republican in the Bay State following Gov. Charlie Baker's time in office.

Candidate Chris Doughty and his running mate, Kate Campanale, joined Adam Reilly on Talking Politics in their first media appearance together to weigh in on issues ranging from vaccine mandates to conversion therapy.

Doughty, a businessman, is vying with former state Rep. Geoff Diehl for the Republican nomination. Campanale, a former state representative, recently announced her candidacy and partnership with Doughty.

Doughty has been widely described as a moderate Republican alternative to Diehl, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. But when host Adam Reilly asked Doughty to describe what being a political moderate means, Doughty suggested the label doesn't apply to him.

"You know, people have wanted to put labels like that on me from day one ... I don't remember saying I was a moderate," Doughty said.

He later added, "I would describe myself as my own man ... I would say I'm a Chris Doughty Republican."

In a Jan. 26 article in the Boston Globe, Doughty was quoted as saying, of his decision to run, "When I saw that Governor Baker wasn’t getting back in and I didn’t see any other moderate Republicans, my wife said, ‘Hey, quit complaining about it. Take a courage pill and step out on the stage.'"

Campanale echoed Doughty, saying, "I think in this day, most people aren't looking at labels. They're looking at a leader."

Diehl, Doughty's opponent, has decried Baker's use of mask and vaccine mandates to fight COVID. Asked if he would take similar action as governor if another coronavirus wave hit, Doughty said he doesn't like the word "mandate," and instead prefers promoting education and compassion surrounding vaccination.

He could not provide a solid stance on what he would favor when it comes to masking in schools, but noted that some protocols have moved from "protection to control."

As a former state representative, Campanale said she stands by her record in the legislature, including a 2018 vote against a ban on "conversion therapy," which seeks to make LGBTQ+ people heterosexual.

When pressed on the decision by Reilly, she said the bill, "takes away the therapist's ability to ask questions. Part of therapy is to dig deep, to ask questions, and this bill prevented that from happening."

Both Doughty and Campanale said they believe the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump, was legitimate.

As candidates, Doughty and Campanale said, they are focused on improving quality of life and affordability in the state.

Watch: First interview with 2022 Gubernatorial running mates Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale