March 3, 2024
Republican Geoff Diehl won his party’s nomination Tuesday to challenge Democrat Maura Healey, the state's attorney general, in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this fall. Democrats are heavily favored to win the election in the deep-blue state, as centrist Republican Gov. Charlie Baker declined a reelection bid.

Republican Geoff Diehl won his party’s nomination Tuesday to challenge Democrat Maura Healey, the state’s attorney general, in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this fall. Democrats are heavily favored to win the election in the deep-blue state, as centrist Republican Gov. Charlie Baker declined a reelection bid.

Diehl was endorsed in the race by former President Donald Trump, support that will likely prove more useful in the primary than the general election in the Bay State, where Trump won a mere 32% of the vote in 2020.

The Associated Press called the race at 10 p.m. ET, with nearly a quarter of the vote counted.

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In addition to Baker, Republicans including Bill Weld and now-Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) have held the governor’s mansion in Massachusetts, but they ran on more centrist platforms designed to appeal not just to Republicans but to independents and some Democrats as well. Diehl has not taken that approach, even casting uncertainty about the 2020 election results but stopping short of embracing Trump’s baseless claims that it was stolen. 

Diehl, a former state representative, has yet to hold statewide office. He also lost a 2018 challenge to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) by a wide margin, a race in which he also had Trump’s endorsement. 

In the primary, Diehl defeated businessman Chris Doughty, who was seeking public office for the first time, running on a centrist, pro-business platform and criticizing his rival for running on hot-button areas unlikely to appeal to general election voters. 

Just days before the primary, Howie Carr, an influential talk radio host and Boston Herald columnist in the state who is an ally of Trump, broke with the former president to tell his readers and listeners to support Doughty, who he said is better-suited to challenge Healy in November.

Diehl will face Healey, who was uncontested in her own primary after her former rival, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, dropped out of the race in June. State polls show Healey is heavily favored to win the race.

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In a recent television ad, her first of a campaign in which she faced little Democratic competition, Healey pledged to “cut taxes, reduce costs in housing and transportation, improve education, and make vocational training available.”

NBC Boston reported Healey, 51, would be the first woman elected governor in the state’s history, noting that although Jane Swift served as acting governor from 2001-2003, finishing Paul Cellucci’s term after he was appointed as U.S. ambassador to Canada, she was never elected. If elected, Healey would also be the state’s first openly gay candidate elected as governor and would become the first openly lesbian chief executive of a state in the country. Healey was also once a member of the Harvard University women’s basketball team.

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