Gus Bickford was re-elected chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee Thursday, beating again two challengers amid criticism over his involvement within the congressional major between Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
Bickford handily received one other time period over Bob Massie, a former gubernatorial candidate, and Mike Lake, a former lieutenant governor hopeful and present state committee deputy treasurer. Out of 365 votes forged, Bickford received 229, whereas Lake obtained 87 and Massie received 49.
Bickford will now helm the state Democratic Occasion by way of the 2022 gubernatorial race because the Democrats vie to retake the nook workplace.
“I can’t thanks sufficient,” Bickford mentioned after the votes have been tallied. “I actually look ahead to working with all of you.”
Bickford got here beneath fireplace final week when an inner investigation concluded that he violated get together bylaws by partaking within the 1st Congressional District major between Morse and Neal over the summer time, based on a confidential report obtained by the Herald.
The investigation by former state Sen. Cheryl Jacques discovered Bickford broke get together guidelines by advising college students to ship a letter to Morse detailing their allegations of inappropriate conduct towards the brazenly homosexual candidate and “encouraging” college students to speak to a reporter on the file about them “earlier than the election.”
“I’m so sorry for the ache brought about,” to members of the LGBTQ neighborhood, Bickford mentioned Thursday. “What’s out there may be not who we’re. There may be not a homophobic bone on this physique. In a brief time frame, I mishandled the disaster, and I can do higher — there was no malintent.”
Bickford pledged to implement the suggestions within the report and mentioned he was “dedicated to the intense enterprise of dialogue and therapeutic.”
In his last pitch to state committee members, Bickford mentioned his “expertise” would assist push the get together ahead in a Joe Biden presidency and put Massachusetts Democrats on the trail towards reclaiming the governor’s workplace in 2022. Gov. Charlie Baker has not introduced if he’ll search re-election for a 3rd time period.
“I understand how to assist individuals win elections,” Bickford mentioned. “Taking again the nook workplace goes to be a major purpose of ours.”
However his challengers raised points with fundraising, messaging and candidate recruiting that they mentioned have been hampering efforts to develop the Democrats’ base and produce in additional of the two.7 million unenrolled voters that comprise 57% of all registered voters within the state.
“We’re missing assist from individuals outdoors of the get together, unenrolled individuals,” Massie mentioned. “We ought to be unleashing the facility of the get together, our imaginations, all of the individuals who wish to take part and proper now really feel excluded.”
Lake pressured the necessity for the get together to “do extra than simply elect Democrats” as he known as for extra variety among the many ranks.
And with three white males operating for chairman, Lake mentioned, “The longer term face of our get together shouldn’t proceed to seem like me and our different candidates tonight.”