Ben Downing, ex-lawmaker and climate change advocate, drops bid for Massachusetts governor

Downing called for 'more urgent, empathetic leadership" during the COVID crisis.
Former Massachusetts state Sen. Ben Downing
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Ben Downing is dropping out of the race to be Massachusetts’ next governor.

The former state senator released an statement on his campaign website Tuesday stating that, with a “heavy heart, but also with hope, and gratitude beyond measure” he will not seek to succeed Gov. Charlie Baker as the state’s next leader. He said he will continue the “fight for urgent, empathetic leadership” in the state.

“Over the last 10 months, friends and neighbors, old and new, have opened their homes and hearts to my campaign,” Downing said. “Together, we built a coalition that lifted up the voices of those too often ignored. We came up with real solutions to meet the challenges facing Massachusetts families and reshape our shared future.

“In a year that took a lot out of all of us, we grew stronger at the broken places. I have seen the best of Massachusetts, alongside the deep need for more urgent, empathetic leadership. I have learned and grown. For all of that, I cannot say thank you enough. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the financial resources to continue. While it’s painful to admit, that reality has brought this chapter to a close.”

Downing, a husband and father of two, is a former state senator for western Massachusetts who worked for climate action. He calls himself a progressive Democrat, and a lifelong servant dedicated to serving the community, according to his his website.

He said he decided to run for higher office because he believed in the state’s future, and felt the state needed a governor who “sees, feels, and understands the daily impact of economic inequality” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just as my work and my responsibility as a citizen did not end when I term limited myself in the Senate, the work of this campaign does not end today,” Downing said. “Though my name will not be on the ballot next year, I will keep working for the principles that defined this campaign. Massachusetts is prosperous, but we must ask 'for whom?' and reckon with the reality that the answer is for far too few.

“Massachusetts is innovative, but we must ask 'to what end?' and reckon with the fact that we are falling far short on the defining issues of this generation – most notably the climate crisis. We have everything we need to solve the big problems facing us.”

Downing said moving forward a single party doesn’t stand in the way of the state’s progress, “but a culture of complacency that too often prioritizes the comfort of those in power over addressing the challenges of those in need.”

According to Ballotpedia, the race for Massachusetts governor includes Democrats Danielle Allen, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Scott Donohue and Orlando Silva, Republican Geoff Diehl, and Independent candidate Dianna Ploss.

The primary election will be held Sept. 20, 2022, and the general election on Nov. 8.