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Trump-backed Diehl wins Massachusetts GOP gubernatorial primary

BOSTON (AP) — Geoff Diehl, a former state representative backed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican nomination for governor of Massachusetts over businessman Chris Doughty, considered the nominee the most moderate of the race.

Diehl’s victory sets up a general election against Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, who would be the first openly gay person and the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts if she wins in November. The state’s current governor, Republican Charlie Baker, has decided not to seek a third term.

Republican voters made Massachusetts the last blue state this midterm season to nominate a Trump loyalist in a high-profile race, potentially reducing the party’s chances of victory in November. Voters in Connecticut and Maryland, liberal states where centrist Republicans have had some success in previous elections, also selected far-right candidates to face 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 country.

At his victory party Tuesday night before the GOP race was called for Diehl, Healey told his cheering supporters that no matter which candidate runs as his opponent, “We know he’ll be out of touch with the values ​​we stand for.” Speaking of the two candidates, she added, “They will bring Trumpism to Massachusetts.”

Diehl, the frontrunner among Republican Party delegates in the state, has ties to Trump that extend to 2016, when he served as co-chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts. Diehl also opposed COVID-19 protocols and welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Doughty said he supports some of Trump’s initiatives, but wants to focus on the challenges facing Massachusetts, which he says is increasingly unaffordable.

During a Monday night conference call, Trump said Diehl will “rule your state with an iron fist.”

Diehl has come to terms with Trump’s false claims that he has won the 2020 election. Diehl said last year he didn’t believe it was a “stolen election,” but did 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, said he believes President Joe Biden was legitimately elected.

The challenge for Diehl in the general election is that Trump’s support 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. Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018. He won a three-way Republican primary to secure just over a third of the vote in the general election.

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

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

Massachusetts Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey speaks at the Greater Boston Labor Council Annual Breakfast on September 5, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

JOSEPH PREZIOSO via Getty Images

But Healey faces a strange hurdle in Massachusetts — the so-called Attorney General’s Curse. Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys general have sought the governor’s office. Everything failed.

The state once had a female governor, although she was appointed to that position. Republican Jane Swift served as interim governor after Governor Paul Cellucci left in 2001 to become US ambassador to Canada.

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

Former Boston City Councilwoman 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, an attorney who previously ran against Healey and lost.

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

Incumbent Democratic Commonwealth Secretary William Galvin, who is seeking an eighth term, defeated fellow Democrat Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP. Sullivan would have been the first black to hold that position if elected.

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

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

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

None of the nine incumbent members of the U.S. Democratic House face any primary opponents. There have been two contested Republican primaries in the 8th and 9th congressional districts.

The Huffington Gt

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