Harvard Professor Danielle Allen Suspends Campaign for Governor


Harvard Professor Danielle S. Allen announced the end of her campaign for governor of Massachusetts on Tuesday.

Allen, who launched her campaign last June, was considered a long shot in the Democratic primary. Her path to Beacon Hill became even murkier last month when Massachusetts Attorney General Maura T. Healey ’92, who holds a sizable fundraising advantage and enjoys greater name recognition, entered the race.

At the end of January, Allen had around $492,000 on hand, compared to over $3.9 million for Healey, according to the latest state campaign finance filings.

In a press release announcing the end of her campaign, Allen took aim at the barriers the state’s primary system puts up for new candidates, saying it is “leading to a serious impoverishment of our democracy.”


Two candidates — Healey and State Senator Sonia R. Chang-Diaz — are still vying for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face one of two major Republican candidates who are running to replace two-term Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79.

Allen did not endorse anyone as she exited the race.

Allen, a political theorist, has taught at Harvard since 2015 and served as a University professor, Harvard’s highest faculty distinction, since 2017.

In her statement Tuesday, she vowed to continue working on electoral reform.

“In Massachusetts, where we pride ourselves on being the birthplace of democracy, there is no excuse for ballot access procedures that push out qualified but non-traditional candidates and rob the people of Massachusetts of real choice on their ballot,” she said. “As I reflect on my next steps for civic engagement, working on democratic reform in this area will be a priority for me.”

Chang-Diaz thanked Allen for her “time, personal connections, and meaningful policy discussions” in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

Healey said in a tweet that Allen’s “commitment to strengthening our democracy and building a more equitable, united Massachusetts is inspiring.”

Allen was the first Black woman in Massachusetts’ history to run for statewide office, according to her campaign.

If Healey prevails in the gubernatorial race, she will be the third straight Harvard College graduate to be elected to the seat.

—Staff writer Yusuf S. Mian can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @yusuf_mian2.

—Staff writer Charlotte P. Ritz-Jack can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Charritzjack.