Secretary of State Galvin Faces Challenger Zakim in First Televised Debate

In anticipation of the Sept. 4 Primary, incumbent Secretary of State Bill Galvin faced challenger Josh Zakim during an often-contentious, televised debate on WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston” last week.

Host Jim Braude moderated the first, half-hour debate between Galvin, who at age 67 has held the seat since 1995, and Zakim, 34, who has served as District 8 city councilor since 2014, representing Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, and the West End. Zakim won the endorsement of the Massachusetts Democratic Party at its state convention on June 2, when he received 55 percent of the delegates’ votes over Galvin’s 45 percent.

Zakim admonished Galvin for scheduling the Primary for the day after Labor Day, which he described as an “irresponsible decision.”

Zakim further laid blame on Galvin for not offering early voting or holding the election on a weekend. “You have gone to court on numerous occasions to prevent progressive change [in the voting process],” Zakim added.

Galvin countered that while Sept. 4 wasn’t ideal timing, it is still the best available day for the election, since the following two Tuesdays fall on Jewish holidays while the Thursday after Labor Day is the first day of the school in many districts.

Meanwhile, Galvin called his rival’s voting record into question when he said that Zakim didn’t vote in either the 2004 gubernatorial or the 2006 presidential Primary elections. (Zakim countered that in 2004, he was attending college in Pennsylvania.)

Zakim declined Galvin’s request that he enter into a People’s Pledge to refuse anonymous, undisclosed campaign contributions while asserting that Galvin was merely trying to distract voters from the used “hundreds of thousand of dollar in taxpayer money” to pay for his campaign ads.

In summarizing his achievements in office, Galvin said he helped establish the Address Confidentiality Program, which facilitates the safe relocation of domestic violence victims, and that he had helped recover millions of dollars for victims of fraud throughout the Commonwealth.

Zakim responded to these claims by saying that Massachusetts has fallen behind during Galvin’s tenure in office.

“You’ve held this office for quarter of a century virtually unchallenged…and the voters want a progressive leader as Secretary of State,” Zakim said to Galvin.

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