Massachusetts Primary

Trump-Backed Diehl Wins GOP Primary, Will Face Maura Healey in November Election

William Galvin won the Democratic primary for Secretary of State, and Andrea Campbell won the Democratic primary for Attorney General

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Geoff Diehl, a former state representative endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has won the Republican nomination for Massachusetts governor over businessman Chris Doughty, who was considered the more moderate candidate in the race.

The victory for Diehl sets up a general election contest against Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, who would be the first openly gay person and the first woman elected governor if she wins in November. The state's current governor, Republican Charlie Baker, decided against seeking a third term.

"I am proud tonight to accept the Republican nomination to be your next governor of Massachusetts," Diehl told his supporters Tuesday night.

Republican voters made Massachusetts the latest blue state this midterm season to nominate a Trump loyalist in a high-profile race, potentially dooming the party's chances of winning in November. Voters in Connecticut and Maryland, liberal states where centrist Republicans have found some success in previous elections, also selected far-right candidates to go up against a Democrat in the general election.

Healey, whose only rival for the nomination dropped out of the race but remained on the ballot, will be the heavy favorite in November against Diehl in one of the most liberal states in the nation. Her campaign was quick to seize on the Trump theme, releasing a statement Tuesday night saying "Geoff Diehl wants to bring Trumpism to Massachusetts."

NBC10 Boston political reporter Alison King takes a look at a few of Tuesday's primary races in Massachusetts.

"He has embraced the Trump playbook of anger and extremism, and he opposes a woman's right to abortion access and reproductive health care," Healey campaign manager Jason Burrell said. "Massachusetts cannot afford the extremism of Geoff Diehl."

Diehl, the favorite among state Republican Party delegates in Massachusetts, has ties to Trump stretching to 2016, when he served as co-chair for Trump's presidential campaign in the state. Diehl has also opposed COVID-19 protocols and hailed the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

"With this campaign, we are going to be redefining politics as usual here in Massachusetts," Diehl said after winning the nomination. "For the first time in our state's history, we are going to run a campaign that is focused specifically on we the people — our freedoms, our rights, and our prosperity."

Doughty said he supported some of Trump's initiatives but wanted to focus on challenges facing Massachusetts, which he said is increasingly unaffordable.

Diehl has come to embrace Trump's false claims that he won the 2020 election. Diehl said last year that he didn't think it was a "stolen election" but later said the election was rigged, despite dozens of courts, local officials and Trump's own attorney general saying the vote was legitimate. Doughty, meanwhile, has said he believes President Joe Biden was legitimately elected.

The challenge for Diehl in the general election is that support of Trump may play well among the party's conservative wing but could be a political albatross in a state where registered Republicans make up less than 10% of the electorate compared to about 31% for Democrats and about 57% for independents.

Diehl faced a similar struggle when he challenged Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018. He won a three-way Republican primary only to capture just over a third of the vote in the general election.

Massachusetts has a history of electing fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican governors — including former Govs. William Weld and Mitt Romney — to provide a check on overwhelming Democratic legislative majorities. Baker, another Republican in that mold, has remained popular in the state.

Healey has said she would work to expand job training programs, make child care more affordable and modernize schools. Healey has also said she would protect "access to safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts" in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

"I am so proud to be able to stand before you tonight as your Democratic nominee for governor of Massachusetts," Healey told supporters Tuesday night.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey thanked her supporters after her primary win in the gubernatorial election.

Throughout her campaign, she has touted her efforts as the state’s top law enforcement official to protect students and homeowners from predatory lenders.

"Eight years ago, when I became attorney general, I promised to take on tough challenges and to get results. And I'm proud to say that we delivered on that promise," she said. "We held ExxonMobil accountable for lying about climate change. We took on the utility companies to reduce energy prices," Healey said. We sued Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers for fueling the opioid crisis and devastating families all across this country. And we protected Massachusetts taxpayers."

Healey said she would fight to cut housing and health care costs and make child care more affordable. She also signaled a focus on transportation.

"We cannot have a functioning economy if we don't have a functioning transportation system. So as governor, my plan is going to be to fix our roads and our bridges and the T," she said.

But Healey does face an oddball hurdle in Massachusetts -- the so-called curse of the attorney general. Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys general have sought the governor's office. All failed.

The state has previously had a female governor, though she was appointed to the position. Republican Jane Swift served as acting governor after Gov. Paul Cellucci stepped down in 2001 to become U.S. ambassador to Canada.

After winning the Republican primary, Trump-backed Geoff Diehl will face Democrat Maura Healey in the race for governor in Massachusetts.

Tuesday's election also featured several statewide contested Democratic primaries, including for attorney general and secretary of the commonwealth.

Former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell defeated workers' rights attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan in the Democratic primary for attorney general. A week before the election, a third candidate, former assistant attorney general Quentin Palfrey, announced he was suspending his campaign and endorsed Campbell; he remained on the ballot.

Campbell would be the first Black woman to hold the office in Massachusetts if elected in November. She will face Republican Jay McMahon, a trial attorney who previously ran against Healey and lost.

"For all of those who have felt unseen, this victory is for you. For all of those who have felt marginalized, this victory is for you. For all of those who have felt left out, and left behind and undervalued, this victory is for you," Campbell said while addressing supporters Tuesday night.

Campbell would be the first Black woman to hold the office in Massachusetts if elected in November. She will face Republican Jay McMahon, a trial attorney who previously ran against Healey and lost.

Liss-Riordan pumped millions of her own money into her campaign -- including $6.3 million in August alone. Healey earned an annual salary of more than $185,000 as attorney general.

New leadership is on the way in the Bay State, as voters choose who they want for their next governor and attorney general.

Incumbent Democratic Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who is vying for an eighth term in office, defeated fellow Democrat Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP. Sullivan would have been the first Black person to serve in the post if elected.

Galvin will face Republican Rayla Campbell in November. Campbell is also Black.

In the Democratic three-way race for lieutenant governor, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll defeated state Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton and state Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow.

There are also contested races in the Democratic primary for auditor and in the Republican race for lieutenant governor.

None of the state's nine incumbent Democratic U.S. House members is facing primary challengers. There were two contested Republican primaries in the 8th and 9th congressional districts.

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