The Washington Post

AG Healey to face Trump-backed Republican for Mass. governor

- BY ANNIE LINSKEY AND DAVID WEIGEL

Maura Healey (D), who made history as the country’s first openly gay attorney general, will face Trump-backed former state legislator Geoff Diehl (R) in the Massachuse­tts governor’s race this November — a contest seen by analysts as one of the best chances for Democrats to flip control of a Republican-held seat.

Healey’s win, which was projected by the Associated Press, was long anticipate­d. Her only opponent in the primary suspended her campaign, though her name remained on the ballot. Healey was elected to her current job in 2014 and begins as a strong favorite in a heavily Democratic state.

If she prevails in the fall, Healey would be the first woman elected governor of Massachuse­tts, and potentiall­y one of the first two openly lesbian governors in the country, should Democrat Tina Kotek win in Oregon.

In the Republican primary, Diehl, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, defeated a more centrist rival, businessma­n Chris Doughty, the AP projected. Diehl has echoed Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” after initially acknowledg­ing that President Biden won.

Democratic primary voters in Massachuse­tts also picked a nominee for attorney general in a race that divided the two U.S. senators and other party leaders in the deep-blue state. They went with Andrea Campbell, the first Black woman to be president of the Boston City Council, over labor lawyer Shannon Liss-riordan. Campbell was backed by Sen. Edward J. Markey while Sen. Elizabeth Warren backed Liss-riordan.

The Bay State was the only place in the country holding primaries the day after Labor Day, and voting there marked the beginning of the end of the primary season. With intraparty contests in all but a handful of states complete, both parties have begun campaignin­g across the country with an eye on November, clashing over inflation, crime, abortion rights and the records of Biden and his predecesso­r.

Diehl is the latest candidate endorsed by Trump to prevail in a blue state primary where only more moderate Republican­s have won recently. In Maryland, Trump-endorsed legislator Dan Cox won the GOP nomination over a candidate endorsed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan; in Illinois, Trump-backed state Sen. Darren Bailey defeated rivals who party leaders saw as more electable. Democrats spent in both races to aid the candidates who ended up winning, some wagering they would be easier to defeat in November. But they did no do so in Massachuse­tts.

The Massachuse­tts gubernator­ial contest is regarded by analysts as one of Democrats’ best opportunit­ies to turn a red seat blue in November. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican and Trump critic, declined to seek a third term in office.

Healey, who has sued the Trump administra­tion nearly 100 times, according to a tally by the Boston Globe, was effectivel­y running for the Democratic nomination unconteste­d after state Sen. Sonia Chang-diaz suspended her campaign.

Republican­s are expected to have a difficult path to holding the governorsh­ip. Their gubernator­ial primary was another in a long succession of intraparty contests this year featuring a candidate backed by the 45th president.

Diehl ran in the primary touting the support of Trump, who joined a tele-rally for him Monday night. As the GOP Senate nominee in 2018, Diehl lost to Warren by 24 percentage points. Trump lost Massachuse­tts to Biden by more than 33 percentage points.

Doughty, a Harvard Business School graduate, tried to appeal to what he called the state’s “exhausted middle.” His backing came from more traditiona­l Republican­s such as New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who argued that Doughty had the best chance in November.

With none of the state’s allDemocra­tic congressio­nal delegation facing primary challenger­s, much of the focus Tuesday was on state races. One of the most closely watched contests was the Democratic primary for state attorney general, a position that frequently produces candidates for higher office.

During that primary, Campbell won prominent supporters, including Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D), who served with her on the city council, and Healey, who has appeared with her frequently on the campaign trail.

Warren, along with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former Boston acting mayor Kim Janey endorsed Liss-riordan. She ran in the primary on a long legal career that includes pushing for gig workers to have access to employee protection­s.

Elsewhere on the ballot, longtime Democratic Secretary of State William Galvin defeated a primary challenge from Boston NAACP President Tanisha Sullivan. He will face Rayla Campbell, who calls herself a “rule-of-law Republican.”

In the race for lieutenant governor, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who was favored among many state elected officials and activists in the run-up to Tuesday won the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, the candidates were paired off as ticket-mates with the gubernator­ial candidates, even though the offices are elected independen­tly.

Diehl ran with former state representa­tive Leah Cole Allen, who initially left politics to focus on her nursing career. She worked on a covid-19 floor in a hospital during the pandemic and then lost her position because she decided not to get a coronaviru­s vaccine, which prompted her to turn back to politics. Doughty teamed up with former state representa­tive Kate Campanale, who became a history teacher after leaving the State House.

 ?? CHRIS CHRISTO/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Massachuse­tts Attorney General Maura Healey, the Democratic nominee for governor, at a watch party in Boston on Tuesday.
CHRIS CHRISTO/ASSOCIATED PRESS Massachuse­tts Attorney General Maura Healey, the Democratic nominee for governor, at a watch party in Boston on Tuesday.

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