When Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney made her closing pitch at a recent League of Women Voters candidate forum, she began by touting the endorsements she’s received as she seeks a thirteenth term.
“Among those standing with me: Congressman Jim McGovern,” Devaney said, kicking off a 30-second rundown of big-name backers who believe she deserves reelection. McGovern is also the first person listed in the endorsements section of Devaney’s website.
In fact, McGovern is not standing with Devaney.
“Jim McGovern has not endorsed any Governor’s Council primary candidates in this election, including Marilyn Petitto Devaney,” a McGovern campaign spokesperson told GBH News.
McGovern isn't the only notable political name wrongly included on the endorsement page of Devaney's website. Chris Dempsey, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for state auditor, is also cited erroneously.
“Chris has not endorsed anyone in the Governor’s Council race,” a Dempsey spokesperson said.
Devaney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The Massachusetts Governor’s Council includes the lieutenant governor and eight members elected biennially from districts across the state. It has several responsibilities, including confirming or rejecting the governor’s judicial nominations.
Devaney, who lives in Watertown, is a colorful figure who’s served on the Governor’s Council for more than two decades. She represents the 3rd District, which includes several communities to the northwest of Boston.
Devaney is currently facing a tough primary challenge from Mara Dolan, a public defender and former State House staffer from Concord who’s pledged to only support judicial nominees who are pro-choice and antiracist.
Dolan decried the inaccurate endorsement claims Friday.
“When an elected official endorses a candidate, it is an honor,” Dolan said.
“Voters need accurate information about candidates and the elected officials who’ve endorsed in their race,” she added. “It is essential that voters be able to trust candidates when they tell them an elected official has endorsed them.”
It appears that this is not Devaney's first encounter with these kinds of troubles. In 2014, the Newton Tab reported that one of Devaney’s Governor’s Council colleagues, Eileen Duff, said her name had been erroneously listed on a letter sent by the Devaney campaign that attacked Charles Shapiro, Devaney’s primary opponent that year.