Beginning today, Democrats in Massachusetts are gathering virtually and in-person at the DCU Center in Worcester for this year's state Democratic Convention. Two candidates are vying for the party nomination in the governor's race in addition to a number of other people chasing statewide office. Adam Reilly, host of GBH’s Talking Politics, joined GBH Morning Edition hosts Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel to look ahead to the convention. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Alston: So, Adam, two weeks ago, we talked to you about the GOP convention. What's the agenda at this year's Democratic Convention and what will you be looking out for?

Reilly: Similar framework to what happened at the GOP convention — you've got the candidates who are looking to make the statewide ballot. The party will decide which of them manage to get on it. They need 15% of support from the delegates at the convention to actually get on the ballot in September. And then it's also partially a pep rally for the parties.

There's a host of big Democratic names. If you're not speaking at the convention and you think you're an important Democrat in the state, you're probably wrong. Michelle Wu's going to be speaking, Ed Markey's going to be speaking, Elizabeth Warren's going to be speaking and a bunch of other important people who I didn't mention just there. So part pep rally and part taking care of business for the primary.

Siegel: So you mentioned a big part of this is the governor's race. Governor Baker is leaving office. There's a lot of excitement around the race right now. Attorney General Maura Healey is leading the polls. Is it safe to say this convention is going to be her moment? It's going to be her weekend?

Reilly: I think it is safe to say that she is going to get the party's endorsement for governor and probably win a fairly substantial victory. Her real moment, of course, will come if and when she's elected in November. But yes — I'm going into this expecting something of a Maura Healey coronation. She's been ahead in the polls that have been done. All the momentum seems to be at her side. She's been rolling out endorsements this week, including some endorsements from elected officials who you would think ideologically would be more simpatico with Sonia Chang-Díaz. It feels like we're headed toward a big Healey win, which is what people have been expecting for a while now.

Alston: At the same time, Adam, there are some party members who feel Healey is more of the status quo option, more of the same, and instead wish that there was more energy behind her hopeful primary challenger, State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz. So, first of all, what are the chances that Chang-Díaz will get enough votes to qualify for the primary ballot?

Reilly: Chang-Díaz has been saying for months now that in the wake of the caucuses where delegates are chosen, delegates are elected, that she's got the 15% she needs to get on the ballot. So she's set the bar somewhat high in that sense. You contrast that with Chris Doughty, who's kind of the alternative gubernatorial candidate on the GOP side. He said going into the Republican convention, "I don't know if I'm going to get to 15%, I think we're right on the edge." Then in the end, he got close to 30, which made that feel like a good weekend for him. Chang-Díaz has already set expectations higher. I think that to convince people that she has a shot at beating Healey, she needs to surpass expectations at the convention, I threw out the figure of 40% of delegates in our politics newsletter this week. That was a somewhat arbitrary choice. But given the narrative around this race, I really do think she needs to do better than a lot of people expect her to.

Siegel: What do you think about that narrative around the race right now, with Healey appearing as such a front runner, what do you think it says about the state of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts and its priorities right now?

Reilly: I think the biggest thing it says about the Democrats in the state right now is that they want to win. They're tired of being locked out of the corner office. Republicans in Massachusetts tend to do pretty well in gubernatorial races, but the Democrats did have it for a couple of terms under Deval Patrick. I think they really want the governorship back. Going back to when Charlie Baker was in office and seeking reelection, they've always thought of her as the person best situated to beat Baker. She ended up not announcing that she was going to run until she knew that Baker was going to take a pass on seeking a third term. That sets her apart from Sonia Chang-Díaz, who jumped into the race when it looked like Baker still might run again. But I think Democrats have had Healey in mind as their best bet for so long that that's been a really tough thing for Chang-Díaz to fight against. When the party's already settled on their favorite, it's tough to present yourself as an alternative.

"It feels like we're headed toward a big Healey win, which is what people have been expecting for a while now."
-Adam Reilly, host of 'Talking Politics'

Alston: So, Adam, there's a lot of frustration with the national Democratic party right now. They're having some troubling numbers in the polls ahead of the midterms in November. Is that having any spillover effect on the state party?

Reilly: Not that I have picked up on. I think Massachusetts is so different electorally in terms of the way the state votes from the country as a whole, that if anything, I think the moment we're in politically is probably going to make state Democrats more likely to go harder to the left, broadly speaking, than they have been before. You look at what's happening on Beacon Hill right now, with this push to let some unauthorized immigrants get driver's licenses. A few years ago, that would have been an incredibly hot button issue. Democrats on Beacon Hill would have been worried about embracing it. Now both the House and Senate are on board. Governor Baker's vetoed their bill that would do this, but they're going to override his veto. So if anything, I think the party is moving more aggressively in a progressive direction than you might have seen a decade ago.

Siegel: What else are you going to be looking for with this convention? What other races?

Reilly: There are a bunch of contested races that are going to be interesting to watch, but the two that I'm most interested in are the attorney general's race, where you’ve got Quentin Palfrey, who was the party's nominee for L.G. Last cycle, I believe. Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor lawyer who ran for U.S. Senate briefly against Ed Markey, and Andrea Campbell, who ran for mayor of Boston last year. Palfrey and Liss-Riordan are a little further to the left than Campbell, when you look at candidate questionnaires. Campbell is a Black woman; they are both white. They've been hammering her for her connections to a PAC that was formed to support her mayoral bid, saying it's not appropriate for the A.G. to be taking contributions from outside donors who she could end up being involved in regulating in some way, shape or form. So that's going to be really interesting. I have no idea how that one is going to turn out.

And then the other fascinating race is the secretary of state's race. It's Bill Galvin who's looking for his eighth term as secretary of the commonwealth against Tanisha Sullivan, the former head of the Mass. NAACP. Again, not entirely sure what's going to happen there. Galvin lost the convention last time around to Josh Zakim and then cruised in the primary itself. I'm not sure what the outcome there is going to be, but whatever it is, it's going to be interesting to watch.

Alston: Adam, you’re also the host of Talking Politics, which airs tonight on GBH 2 at 7 p.m. So real quick, Adam, before we let you go, what's coming up on the show tonight?

Reilly: We're going to look ahead to the convention, as you'd expect. We'll also look at some unfinished business lingering on Beacon Hill, including that driver's license veto and Governor Baker's push for tax relief. And we will try to size up this ongoing mess at the Boston Public Schools with the possibility of state receivership.

Siegel: Adam, thanks so much for joining us.