Democratic candidate for attorney general of Massachusetts Andrea Campbell won her primary election on Tuesday night in a victory that all but assured she would become the first Black person to serve in that role. It also moved Campbell closer to becoming the first Black woman ever elected statewide when the general election rolls around in November.
Campbell, a Boston city councilor, defeated trial attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan with a formidable candidacy powered by notable endorsements from some of the state’s most popular elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who also used to serve on Boston’s city council.
“Massachusetts, I am humbled and honored to be your Democratic nominee for Attorney General,” Campbell tweeted late Tuesday night following her projected win. “Thank you.”
Campbell’s display of humility doesn’t begin to describe what a huge deal her victory was.
Campbell, who ran unsuccessfully for Boston mayor last year, made equity and racial justice a focal point of her campaigns and centered issues like criminal justice and affordable housing just as she did with her mayoral campaign.
Maura Healey, the incumbent attorney general in Massachusetts, left her office to run for governor and has become the Democratic nominee in that race. That vacancy in the attorney general’s office prompted Campbell to run on a record that reflects an impressive work history.
The Princeton University product and UCLA Law School graduate worked in the nonprofit legal education sector before becoming deputy legal counsel to Deval Patrick, Massachusetts’ first and only Black governor. Campbell used that impressive perch to move deeper into Massachusetts politics when she was elected to Boston’s city council in 2015 and represented some of the city’s Blackest and most diverse communities, including Dorchester, Mattapan and Jamaica plain. Three years later, Campbell was elected city council president in a role she served until 2020.
Campbell now advances to the general election to face Jay McMahon, a lawyer from Cape Cod who was previously the Republican nominee for the same race in 2018 before losing to Healey.
If history is any indication, Campbell is poised to make serious Black history not just in Massachusetts but also in the United States as citizens continue electing people who “look like America,” as Joe Biden famously said during his historic presidential campaign to highlight the country’s racial and cultural diversity.