Neck and neck race between Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan comes down to Election Day


Polling places close statewide at 8 p.m.

Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan have been locked in a standoff ahead of Election Day on September 6. Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe, Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe

In recent weeks, the Democratic race for attorney general has become a hotly contested battle, with Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan canvassing the state to win voters over to their cause.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary election will face Republican Jay McMahon in the general election.

Liss-Riordan has surged throughout the summer, according to a UMass Amherst/WCVB poll released last week. Now she and Campbell are locked in a “statistical impasse,” according to UMass political science professor Tatishe Nteta.

The prominent labor lawyer overcame a 10-point deficit in June to take a one-point lead over Campbell in early September, according to the poll. During that period, the percentage of undecided voters in the race was nearly halved, from 59% to 31%, according to the poll.

Liss-Riordan’s strong summer could be the result of massive spending of his own personal funds. These dollars were spent largely on direct mail, radio and television advertisements. By the time all is said and done, Liss-Riordan will eventually spend at least $5 million on her campaign, the World reported. Most of that will be his own money.

Campbell has drawn criticism from opponents for his ties to an independent political action committee known as Better Boston. The group raised more than $1 million for Campbell during his unsuccessful election campaign, which included contributions from the Netflix CEO, an heir to the Walmart fortune and a former Bain Capital executive.

Notably, the UMass/WCVB poll was conducted before Mass’s former assistant attorney general. Quentin Palfrey does not retire from the race. Palfrey made his announcement on Aug. 30, just a week before Election Day. He officially endorsed Campbell, saying she would continue Maura Healey’s legacy as someone who “shows up, listens to our community, and does everything she can to protect and stand up for the people of Massachusetts.”

In a race as close as this, the endorsements of the biggest Democratic names in Massachusetts politics seemed to play a major role. But leading progressives disagreed on who to support.

On the one hand, Campbell enlisted the support of Healey and four other former Massachusetts attorneys general: Frank Bellotti, Jim Shannon, Martha Coakley and Scott Harshbarger. She was also endorsed by Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

“I know what it means to be attorney general,” Healey said at an event in Roxbury last week. “I know this job. And I know very well who the next attorney general should be.

But on Aug. 27, the first day of in-person early voting, Liss-Riordan was endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey. Wu and Janey previously served as town councilors at Campbell.

Warren, Wu and Janey touted Liss-Riordan’s history of fighting big business on behalf of working people. Much of Liss-Riordan’s campaign was centered on portraying her in this light.

“She doesn’t just fight, Shannon wins,” Warren said.

On key issues, Campbell and Liss-Riordan shared similar views in interviews with Both candidates said they support the Fair Share Amendment, also known as the Millionaires’ Tax, which will be passed in November. The measure would amend the state constitution to impose an additional 4% tax on the personal income of any state resident over $1 million. Campbell and Liss-Riordan said they would use this to help support the beleaguered MBTA.

The two echoed similar sentiments when asked about abortion rights. Campbell, who was endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, said she would create a cross-office reproductive justice unit to protect abortion patients and providers. Liss-Riordan has vowed to fight any other state trying to reach Massachusetts to enforce “draconian anti-choice laws.” Lis-Riordan added that she would use the state’s strict consumer protection laws to crack down on pregnancy centers in crisis and their “manipulative” practices.

When asked how they would succeed Healey as attorney general, both candidates offered praise and snippets of their game plan once in office. Campbell said she would “expand the reach of the office to deal with issues such as criminal law reform and corporate-induced pollution. Liss-Riordan said she would continue Healey’s work by taking on Exxon Mobil while expanding the current litigation to include other companies, she praised Healey for holding “big pharma accountable” for the opioid crisis and would target other drug companies involved.


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