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2 Democrats are vying for the post of “people’s advocate” | Boston

BOSTON — Two Democrats will face off in Tuesday’s primary for the next state attorney general in a very open race that recent polls show is tied.

The outcome of the match between Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan will set the stage for the November election when the winner faces Republican Jay McMahon, an unopposed Bourne lawyer.

Democrat Maura Healey, the current state attorney general, is running for governor.

A third Democrat, Quentin Palfrey, dropped out of the race last week but his name will still appear on the ballot.

Campbell, a former Boston city councilwoman, hopes to become the first black woman to hold the office of the AG and says she is the best candidate to take over as the top law enforcement official of the State.

During the campaign, Campbell highlighted his difficult childhood, which included a father who served time in prison, periods of foster care and the death of his twin brother, who died while in pretrial detention. .

“I am living proof that a girl who grew up in poverty, in a family torn apart by incarceration and trauma, can turn that pain into purpose,” she said during a recent debate.

“I’m the first in my family to go to college, the first in my family to go to law school,” she said.

Liss-Riordan, a lawyer and former U.S. Senate candidate, focused on her experience as a labor rights lawyer who took on Amazon, FedEx and Starbucks over labor conditions.

“Life isn’t getting any easier for the people of Massachusetts,” she said during a recent debate. “We need an attorney general who knows how to use the legal system to improve the lives of working people.”

A recent MassINC Polling Group survey found the two were at a statistical stalemate, with 28% of likely Democratic primary voters supporting Campbell to 26% for Liss-Riordan. But nearly a third of voters were undecided, pollsters found.

Like many Democratic primary contests, it has also been an endorsement battle, with each candidate touting the support of party standard bearers.

Campbell’s candidacy received a boost after being endorsed by Healey, who called on fellow Democrats to support her candidacy. His campaign is also backed by former state attorneys general, U.S. Senator Edward Markey and U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley.

Liss-Riordan is backed by her fellow Democrats, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey.

Both Democrats have raised and spent huge amounts of money on their campaigns, with super PACs and special interest groups also pouring money into the race.

Campbell has raised nearly $1.8 million this year and spent more than $1.6 million, leaving his campaign with about $117,000 as of August 31, according to his filings with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Public Finance.

Liss-Riordan has raised more than $3.2 million this year and spent more than $2.9 million, leaving her campaign with $494,352 as of July 31, according to her filings with the OCPF.

McMahon, who ran unsuccessfully for office in 2018, will face an uphill battle in a general election against the winner of the Democratic primary.

The office has been held by a Democrat since 1969, when Republican Attorney General Elliot Richardson left the firm under then-President Richard Nixon.

Often referred to as “the people’s advocate,” the AG is the state’s highest law enforcement official responsible for protecting consumers, investigating and prosecuting crimes, enforcing environmental laws, and state labor and to protect civil rights. The GA job comes with an annual salary of $185,000, with benefits.

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group newspapers and websites. Email him at [email protected]