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Democrat Maura Healey will be Massachusetts’ next governor, becoming the first out lesbian governor in the country, Decision Desk HQ projects. Healey is also the first woman to be elected governor of Massachusetts.
She easily defeated Republican Geoff Diehl, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Healey leaned on her experience as the state’s attorney general throughout the race, citing it as evidence of her ability to get results. She also said at one point that although she recognizes the governorship is a different job, she doesn’t plan to “change the formula” of her work. A significant amount of that work had a specific target: Trump.
Healey, who was elected as the country’s first out gay state attorney general in 2014, has been a plaintiff in nearly 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration, The Boston Globe reports. The lawsuits, usually multistate coalitions, succeeded roughly 77 percent of the time, The Globe found in an analysis published in August. The suits included fighting Trump policies on oil drilling, immigration, food assistance cuts, student loan debt and wildlife conservation.
Diehl — who Trump pledged that would “rule your state with an iron fist” — accused Healey of abusing the power of her office as attorney general for political gain by going after the former president through those legal fights. Throughout the race, Healey made a point of portraying Diehl as a Trump loyalist — in a state where Biden carried the day in the 2020 presidential election. Trump featured heavily in both televised debates between the candidates, with Healey also going after her opponent for previously questioning the validity of the 2020 election — and Diehl frequently addressing questions on the former president, instead of himself.
Healey declined Diehl’s invitation for a third debate in late October, after her running mate reportedly canceled a radio debate with Diehl’s running mate.
“People have had the opportunity to hear Geoff Diehl’s extreme pro-Trump, anti-choice views during two televised debates,” Healey’s campaign told NBC10 Boston in a statement at the time. “Maura looks forward to taking her case directly to voters for the final two weeks of the campaign.”
Diehl ran on loosening COVID-19 vaccine requirements in schools, adopting “parental rights” curriculum restrictions for schools seen in other states, repealing zoning regulations around the state’s public transit system, and using a flat income tax to improve the state’s economy.
In a speech to supporters in Boston on Tuesday night, Healey touched on the importance of representation, saying: “Tonight, I want to say something to every little girl and every young LGBTQ person. I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever you want to be. And nothing but your own imagination should ever get in the way. I want you to know that tonight, we made history!”
Healey ran on raising tax credits for families with dependents, tying economic development to renewable energy and reaching net-zero emissions by 2030, incentivizing communities to build multi-family homes, and increasing funding for infrastructure — occasionally referencing her time as a Harvard point guard, as part of a “teamwork” message — and leaning into her experiences in office.
Andrea Campbell, a former member of Boson’s city council, also won her challenge against Republican Jay McMahon to become the state’s next attorney general — and the first Black woman to hold that position in Massachusetts.
Although Healey is the first woman to be elected governor of Massachusetts, she is not the first woman to lead the state. In 2001, Republican Jane Swift became acting governor, but she was never elected.