Diehl Laser-focused on Warren
LOWELL -- State Rep. Geoff Diehl must emerge victorious from a three-way Republican primary before he can face off against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but his campaign messaging leans in large part on criticizing the incumbent Democrat.
In a Friday meeting with editors of The Sun, Diehl, of Whitman, argued that Warren is focused more on preparing for a 2020 presidential run -- something that has been rumored but still remains uncertain -- than on re-election as a senator. A vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, Diehl said he could work with the administration better than Warren.
“Her focus seems to be more about Elizabeth Warren than everybody else,” Diehl said. “But really, where does that get us in Massachusetts? All of the resisting she’s doing in Washington gives us no seat at the table.”
Diehl, a four-term state representative whose district includes South Shore towns Abington, East Bridgewater, is one of three Republicans on the Sept. 4 primary ballot. The winner will face Warren in November.
After growing up in a Pennsylvania steel town with union parents, Diehl spent a significant portion of his adult life as a Democrat. He said he voted for Joe Biden in the 2008 presidential primary, but soon switched his registration to Republican after he began thinking the DNC did not represent his interests.
Diehl falls into the middle of the primary field in fundraising with about $1.6 million through the end of June, although almost $4.7 million of John Kingston’s $5.8 million came from his own pockets.
The state representative won the Republican Party’s backing in the April GOP convention, though Kingston and fellow candidate Beth Lindstrom each found some support of their own.
Diehl said Friday that his effort is focused on ground-level support, touring the state in a decked-out campaign RV he bought on Craigslist.
“It’s the footwork that’s always been something I pride myself on,” he said.
He also described bipartisan efforts on Beacon Hill, saying he has worked with Democrats, and named better partnership between federal climate agencies and Massachusetts fisheries as a top priority.
Much of his interview with The Sun focused on Warren and on national politics beyond the primary race, though. He spoke broadly about his support for the “free market” and his belief that Warren’s policy proposals would create government overreach, and he criticized her for what he called harsh rhetoric.
Diehl continues to support Trump, though, and does not view him as “extreme” in the same way that he does Warren. He would welcome a visit from Trump to the state should Diehl win the primary, and he has had former Trump administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer host an event in his favor as well.
“She’s working to be the extreme progressive voice in the Democratic Party,” Diehl said. “I think Donald Trump is trying to be the best advocate for the American people he can be and there’s a lot of people who don’t want to see him succeed.”
Asked about Trump’s rhetoric, Diehl said he does not see the president as a “far-right partisan Republican” and added that he believes the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been working to “fabricate” proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in 2016, all while trying to “keep Hillary (Clinton) from being held accountable.”
Then-FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 it did not recommend charges after its investigation into Clinton’s private email server, but just about a week before the election, Comey told Congress the bureau was once again looking into the issue. Many of the details in the contemporaneous investigation into possible Russian interference did not become publicly apparent until after the election.
However, Diehl said he does support the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to examine potential Russian meddling, which has led to dozens of indictments and ire from the president.
“I’m hoping they do their job of fully fleshing out every avenue of where impropriety happened,” Diehl said. “I think we’re finding out, unfortunately, that it leads internally to the FBI as well.”
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