First Elected Massachusetts Republican Backs Donald Trump

Whitman Representative Geoff Diehl is throwing his support behind the frontrunner.

Donald Trump in Worcester by Garrett Quinn

Donald Trump in Worcester by Garrett Quinn

Elected Massachusetts Republicans have been split for months between Governor John Kasich, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Ted Cruz. Governor Chris Christie received the support of Charlie Baker for about five minutes before his campaign ran out of gas after the New Hampshire primary. Through it all, no Republican of significance in the state backed the controversial frontrunner, New York real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Until now.

On Tuesday, Whitman Representative Geoff Diehl became the co-chair of Trump’s Massachusetts campaign, an operation led by Avon’s Dean Cavaretta and based out of the same Littleton office that propelled Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate in 2010. In an interview with Boston, Diehl said he’s liked Trump for some time, but has not been out in front for him until today. Diehl attended a fundraiser for Trump at the home of car mogul Ernie Boch, Jr. last summer. Taunton Representative Shaunna O’Connell attended the event with him.

“His goals down in DC parallel what I’ve been trying to do in office since I got here. I’ve experienced here in Massachusetts what’s happened with implementing the Affordable Care Act, Common Core, and they’ve been pretty big disasters. It’s federal overreach. They’ve caused us major losses. D.C. comes in and it supersedes our decision-making on all that,” said Diehl.

Diehl, one of the state’s higher profile conservatives, led the fight against an increase in the state gas tax in 2014.

“Donald Trump has a vision for D.C. allowing us to have better financial success through his tax plan. He obviously wants us to be more secure militarily, improve life for veterans and their families. He wants to make America great,” said Diehl.

The populist uprising that is Trump’s campaign is a significant part of the appeal of Trump for Diehl.

“He says what other people want to say or are afraid to say. He is going to speak up for the people more than the presidents we’ve had in the past,” said Diehl.

Trump has visited Massachusetts four times since entering the presidential race last summer.

“Representative Diehl’s full-throated support for Donald Trump and his message of hatred and intolerance highlights the many reasons voters overwhelming supported Mike Brady in the recent state Senate election on the South Shore,” said MassDems Spokesman Pat Beaudry via email.

Diehl is the only legislator to publicly back Trump in the Republican primary.