Healey criticizes Diehl on abortion, Fla. governor on politics show

Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial nominee Maura Healey harshly criticized her Republican opponent Geoff Diehl over his antiabortion stance during a Sunday appearance on Channel 5′s On The Record political program.

“Abortion’s on the ballot,” Healey told hosts Janet Wu and Ed Harding. Diehl “celebrated the [Dobbs] decision,” wants to “defund Planned Parenthood,” and wants “jail doctors who provide abortion care,” Healey said. “The lines are pretty clear. I will be a governor that will protect access to abortion,” she said.

The attacks over abortion paired with a focus on issues of affordability appear to be crystalizing as Healey’s closing message four weeks out from the election.

Diehl cast Healey as the outlier on abortion in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“Maura Healey’s extreme advocacy for late-term abortion is also far out-of-sync with the mainstream beliefs of most Massachusetts residents,” he said.

Diehl criticized the rest of Healey’s platform as a “nightmare scenario” that would make the state “less-affordable” and “more-oppressive.”

Healey, the state’s attorney general, sought to tie Diehl to former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed and fundraised for him, while also praising popular Republican Governor Charlie Baker.

“I have high regard and respect for the way that Governor Baker has led,” Healey said. “Obviously, the next governor will have to put her own mark on government and the administration, but I’ll tell you I’m going continue what’s working and fix what isn’t.”

Healey also offered one of her strongest condemnations of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for sending nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last month, calling it a “political stunt” and “political gimmick” that involved the “exploitation of human beings.”

In previous appearances she’s steered clear of directly condemning DeSantis, repeating calls for federal immigration reform instead.

Healey said that she will vote for ballot Question One, which would raise taxes on incomes over one million dollars. She rejected the idea that the state legislature could spend the money on something other than transportation and education, for which the funds are supposed to be earmarked.

However, Healey, who has broad polling lead over Diehl, called for the legislature to pass a package of tax reforms proposed by Baker earlier this year and reiterated her call for the state legislature to grant refunds triggered by a 1986 tax surplus law.

Healey trumpeted her government experience as a reason independent voters should pull the lever for her rather than Diehl in November.

“I know how to take care of assets. I know how to lead agencies. I know how government works,” she said, pointing to her leadership of the Attorney General’s office, which has about 60 employees and a $60 million annual budget.

Alexander Thompson can be reached at alexander.thompson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlMThompson

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