Mass. Auditor Bump Not Running Again In 2022, 'Ready To Leave The Political Stage'
Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump, a Democrat who began her Beacon Hill career in the 1980s and has worked in various public roles, said Tuesday she would not seek a fourth term.
"I'm as dedicated to my office's mission of transparency and accountability as I was when I was sworn in, in 2011. And I'm really proud of the continuing impact we have on state finances and agency operations," Bump said in an interview Tuesday morning with NEPM. "Yet I won't seek reelection next year. I think that there are other folks who are equally committed to the mission of the office as I, and they simply deserve a chance to see what they can do — to take it further."
The role of the state auditor is not one that often gets a lot of attention, but Bump said she has improved the standards and operations of the office to make it a nationally recognized model. She has also produced several high-profile audits, including a sharp critique of the Department of Children and Families in 2017 that sparked a public feud with the Baker administration.
Bump, a former state representative who served as labor secretary under Gov. Deval Patrick, said she has no intention to seek another office.
"I think I’m ready to leave the political stage," she said. "I do look forward to finding other ways to make a difference in accountability and transparency in state government."
Bump's decision to not seek reelection was first reported Tuesday morning by Politico. The announcement came the same day her office released an audit critical of some spending and accounting practices at the service provider Berkshire County Arc.
While the news of Bump's plans was still fresh, speculation was building about who might run to replace her. Bump herself said she did not have a successor in mind.
"I'm making this announcement now so that there will be plenty of time for folks to think about the possibilities inherent in the Office of the State Auditor and to go forward," she said. "I want there to be, for the benefit of the public, as wide a field as possible. And I hope this will encourage that."
Chris Dempsey, a well-known transportation advocated, called Bump a "remarkable and effective" public servant, hinting at his own ambition for the job, but giving Bump space on the day she announced her decision.
In addition to leading Transportation for Massachusetts, Dempsey was a driving force behind the effort to oppose Boston's 2024 bid for the Olympics.
"In the coming days, I will have more to say about my own intentions for this critical elected position. Today, I join many others in expressing my sincere admiration and appreciation for Suzanne's years of service as a constitutional officer, Cabinet member and legislator," Dempsey said in a statement. "I wish her well in the next phase of her career and am grateful for our continued friendship."
Democrats said Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Governor's Councilor Eileen Duff were also among those being looked at as a potential contenders for the seat.
Duff congratulated Bump on an "exemplary career," adding in a Tweet: "There are many challenges facing our commonwealth. I look forward to hearing from residents in every corner of the state."
DiZoglio recently called on Bump to take an active role in investigating how the Baker administration awarded contracts for vaccine distribution to private vendors, and previously tried to pressure the auditor to investigate the state's use of non-disclosure agreements.
DiZoglio told the News Service she was "surprised" by the news Tuesday morning that Bump would not seek reelection.
"This week I am working hard on the budget to pass several provisions to help our restaurants and am also carrying some amendments to help increase staff morale on Beacon Hill. There's plenty of time to talk politics, but right now we have work to do," the Methuen Democrat said.
There have been just two auditors since 1986, with the late Joseph DeNucci holding on to the post for 25 years before giving way to Bump in 2011. She is the first of the six constitutional office holders to announce their plans for 2022.
Gov. Charlie Baker has not said whether he intends to seek a third-term next year, which will be a determining factor in what Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito decides to do.
Longtime Secretary of State William Galvin has also not made a firm decision on 2022, though he said recently he was leaning toward running for another term.
Treasurer Deb Goldberg has not talked about her plans, though last year she considered and ultimately decided against running for an open seat in Congress because she said she enjoyed what she was doing.
This story contains reporting from Matt Murphy of State House News Service and NEPM's Sam Hudzik.