A moderate Republican will enter the gubernatorial race
“When I saw that Governor Baker wasn’t coming back and I didn’t see any other moderate Republicans, my wife said, ‘Hey, stop complaining about that. Take a courage pill and get on stage,” Doughty joked.
The chairman of Capstan Atlantic, a gear manufacturer in Waltham, Doughty describes himself as a fiscal conservative who will build economic expansion and prosperity, and address affordability in Massachusetts, in part by working to limit regulations governmental.
“If voters elect me, they will have a jobs and economy governor,” he said in an interview.
Doughty said he would launch his campaign using $500,000 of his own money as “seed capital” and he released a campaign video that introduces him to voters.
This will be the first political campaign for Doughty, 59, a father of six and grandfather of four, but his profile resonates with former Massachusetts Republicans. He lives in Wrentham, the political launching pad of former Senator Scott Brown, and like former Governor Mitt Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a graduate of Brigham Young University and from Harvard Business School.
By declaring his candidacy, he enters the fray of the Republican Party of Massachusetts, whose leader, Jim Lyons, has regularly argued with Baker and adopted the most extreme views of Trump.
Although Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly rejected Trump and Baker often denounced him, the state’s Republican Party apparatus was shaped around Trump.
Diehl is a conservative firebrand who unsuccessfully challenged Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018. In October, the day after he began espousing Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged against him, Diehl won the approval of the former president.
When asked how he would appeal to the opposite wing of the party, Doughty replied that he would be himself.
“To be honest, genuine, compassionate and ready to listen, without being dogmatic and mean,” he said. “I think I’m just going to picture myself, how I really am.”
Where Doughty finds common ground with the conservatives, however, is on abortion. He said he leaned against abortion rights, though he understood he was protected in Massachusetts. In late 2020, lawmakers codified abortion rights into state law, anticipating a change under the Supreme Court, which is considering a Roe v. Wade challenge.
He said he supported exceptions for abortion in cases of rape and incest, but generally disapproved of abortion after “a fetus may feel pain”.
“You’ll get the impression that I’m not really an activist,” he said, saying he brings a business perspective to political issues.
Doughty said he voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. While he voted for Trump in 2020, consistent with his stance on trade practices with China, he fired Trump’s claims that the election was rigged against him.
“No. Joe Biden is the legitimate president,” Doughty said.
On the Democratic side, three candidates have announced bids for the governor’s office, Attorney General Maura Healey, State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz and Harvard professor Danielle Allen.
Doughty said he intended to appeal to voters’ sense of balance; Massachusetts voters often choose a Republican governor to offset the state’s heavily Democratic legislature.
Republicans are considerably more numerous in Massachusetts. Less than 10% of voters now identify as Republicans, according to state data. The majority of voters, 57%, are “unregistered”, a designation that allows them to vote in either party’s primaries, but since last year, nearly 32% were registered as Democrats.
Primary elections will be held in September.