Jay McMahon, Republican candidate for attorney general in Massachusetts, positioned himself as a tough-on-crime candidate on Boston Public Radio Thursday.

McMahon, who faces Democrat Andrea Campbell in the Nov. 8 general election, said he favors prosecuting minor offenses, like the so-called “list of 15” minor offenses former Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins only selectively prosecuted.

“When you don’t prosecute, that doesn’t mean crime went down,” McMahon said. “That means there’s a crime wave and no one’s responding to that. And that’s why I tell — and I’m telling your listeners — I am a law enforcement guy and I will prosecute those. Like any quality of life crime, I’ll see to it that they get prosecuted so that we don’t have a downtown like New York, like Chicago, like L.A. and like San Francisco.”

An independent study last year found the policy may have actually reduced crime, according to the Boston Globe.

When he was specifically asked about whether he would override the decisions made by now-Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden, he responded that he would.

“I’m going to be a proactive Attorney General when it comes to quality of life for all our citizens,” McMahon said.

The attorney general does have supervisory authority over district attorneys, said GBH News legal analyst and Northeastern University Law Professor Daniel J. Medwed: “But it is narrow and focused.”

On abortion

Attorney General Maura Healey — who is vacating her seat to run for governor — has a history of using her role to protect access to abortions.

“All my life, I’ve been pro-life,” McMahon said. “But that doesn’t mean that I will not enforce laws that are on the books in Massachusetts.”

He did not directly say whether he would move to protect state’s rights if federal legislation sought to limit them under a national abortion ban, which was proposed in September by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. McMahon underscored that he believes the ban is “not going to happen.”

“If there was a federal ban, the enforcement of the federal ban would rest with the U.S. attorney, who is Rachael Rollins right now,” McMahon said. “Nothing’s going to change in Massachusetts.”

On immigration

McMahon said he thought Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used people as political pawns when he sent dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard last month, but declined to say if the governor committed a crime by intentionally misleading the migrants.

With reports alleging that the migrants were intentionally deceived into thinking they would be offered jobs, housing and financial security in Massachusetts, many are calling on prosecutors to charge DeSantis.

“I don't know if he has [committed a crime]. Has he committed some kind of civil fraud? I honestly don't know,” McMahon said. “This is what investigations are all about. In other words, sifting through the rumors — or maybe even more some substantiation by some witness who said this all occurred. But without seeing the paperwork, [I can’t say for certain].”

McMahon has publicly opposed a recent law in Massachusetts allows immigrants without legal status to get driver’s licenses, which will be on the ballot in November. He argued that it would make the state a “magnet” for illegal immigration.

On Boston Public Radio, McMahon claimed that the law would do nothing but bolster the “legitimacy” of the immigrants without helping in any policy-driven way. Others have argued that the law would have a number of positive impacts, like reducing the number of hit-and-runs.

“They are here illegally,” McMahon said, “and then they cause either an accident or a crime. And by giving them a license, somehow they’re no longer here lawfully, which they still are. Their status is still undocumented or illegal. And this is the fallacy of the argument on the left: that by giving them a license, they automatically get insurance. You only have insurance — and you need insurance in order to register a car, not to get a license. When they get a license, that doesn’t do anything but give them legitimacy.”

On Trump

McMahon’s past alignment with former President Donald Trump is no secret, but when asked if he would vote for the former president in 2024, he didn’t answer directly.

“I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t tell you that right now because they don’t know who the Democratic nominee would be,” he said. “In all likelihood, I probably would vote for the Republican nominee. ... I’m only looking at policy. I’m not a groupie. I don’t follow people because somehow, they’re some kind of a figure. I look for federal policy and state policy that’s going to benefit all the citizens.”