Stan Rosenberg Faces Murky Political Future after Hefner Email Reveal

Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh said Rosenberg should step down if allegations that Bryon Hefner had access to his official email prove true.

Stan Rosenberg at a lectern

Photo via AP/Elise Amendola

Stan Rosenberg’s political future is looking more and more dire.

Since the Boston Globe reported on Sunday that the former Senate president’s estranged husband, Bryon Hefner, had access to his official emails, several Democratic colleagues have begun jockeying for his old role, and Rosenberg’s political peers have cast doubt on his future.

Despite Rosenberg’s insistence that he keeps his public and private lives separate, the Globe story reveals that Hefner wielded influence over both his partner and Senate affairs, trying in at least one instance to affect an earmark in the state budget.

In late November, four men accused Hefner of groping or forcibly kissing them, and though there was no immediate evidence of Rosenberg’s complicity, he stepped down from his leadership position while the chamber launched an independent investigation. Worcester Democrat Harriette Chandler took control of the Senate on a temporary basis, but the new revelations have several officials wondering if Rosenberg’s hiatus should become permanent.

Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters on Monday that, if the allegations against Rosenberg are true, he doesn’t “see any way he can remain Senate president,” according to MassLive. Baker emphasized the need to stay the course on the investigation and declined to say if Rosenberg, who is still a sitting senator despite giving up his leadership role, should resign until the probe concludes.

Mayor Marty Walsh echoed Baker’s sentiments and told reporters he thought the chamber should think about picking a new, permanent leader if the investigation confirms the accusations. According to State House News Service, Walsh said the stop-gap measure of a temporary president would eventually “start to affect government. … At some point, they’re going to need leadership that’s consistent, not temporary.”

Gubernatorial challenger Jay Gonzalez, a Democrat and former member of Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, called on Rosenberg to resign from his senate seat.

Should a power vacuum emerge, several ambitious Senate Democrats appear poised to make a bid for the presidency. According to the Globe, Sal DiDomenico of Everett, Karen Spilka of Ashland, and Eileen Donoghue of Lowell have all expressed interest in the leadership role.

In a statement on Monday, Rosenberg denied that Hefner had any influence over his work at the State House.