Oct 21, 2022 - Politics

Mass. auditor hopefuls reckon with questions on their past

Photo illustration of Anthony Amore and Diana DiZoglio.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Courtesy of the Amore and DiZoglio campaigns.

Both the Democrat and the Republican vying to become the state's top fiscal watchdog are dismissing stories from their pasts that have raised questions about their fitness for office.

Driving the news: Before her career in politics, Democratic auditor candidate state Sen. Diana DiZoglio worked as a youth counselor at The Ramp, an Alabama evangelical church that hosted preachers with homophobic views and encouraged "cures" for LGBTQ people.

  • A statement from DiZoglio's campaign spokesperson Doug Rubin sent to Axios said DiZoglio "unequivocally denounces gay conversion therapy," and was involved in banning the practice in Massachusetts in 2018.

What they're saying: "The vile rhetoric of an anti-gay Alabama church has no place in Massachusetts, and politicians like Diana DiZoglio who support such a place have no business going anywhere near elected office," Log Cabin Republicans of Greater Boston president Alex Hagerty wrote in a release.

Yes, but: Rubin said DiZoglio has been open about her personal story as the child of a 17-year-old single mother who turned to religion for help.

  • DiZoglio danced and sang in church youth groups and worked as a counselor for young abuse victims like herself, Rubin said.
  • "As she entered adulthood, she charted her own path because her values did not align with those of the church," Rubin said.
  • LGBTQ civil rights group MassEquality is sticking by its endorsement of DiZoglio. Executive director Tanya Neslusan wrote in a tweet that she's spoken to DiZoglio about growing up in a conservative church and has no doubts she will continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

The other side: There is also turmoil surrounding Republican candidate Anthony Amore. His former wife filed for a restraining order one month after filing for divorce in 2009, according to court documents and a report from NBC10.

  • Amore's ex-wife made accusations of verbal and emotional abuse, claimed Amore shoved her and said he would seek revenge.
  • A judge granted a temporary restraining order so Amore could vacate his family's home and he had to temporarily forfeit a firearm to police.
  • The Department of Children and Families reversed its initial ruling and cleared Amore, saying it was wrong to support the allegations in the first place, per NBC10.

What they're saying: "Not only do these serious allegations call into question his temperament, the fact that he did not proactively disclose this information to voters presents serious doubts about his commitment to transparency, a cornerstone value of the Auditor's office," Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Gus Bickford wrote in a statement.

But Amore points out he was cleared of wrongdoing.

  • "Voters should know that at every point throughout the divorce proceedings, issues were adjudicated by judges, and a police chief and DCF and found in my favor," Amore told the State House News Service Wednesday at a campaign event with Gov. Charlie Baker and former Gov. William Weld.

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