Democratic nominee Maura Healey is poised to face off against Republican nominee Geoff Diehl in the November general election for Massachusetts governor, based on Associated Press tallies from Tuesday’s primary.
Massachusetts primary voting took place on rainy Sept. 6, with a roughly 21% voter turnout estimated by MassVOTE, similar to the turnout rate of the 2018 midterms.
Democrat Sonia Chang-Diaz bowed out of the gubernatorial election in June, clearing the way for Healey to take the Democratic nomination. On the Republican end, Diehl and his opponent, businessman Chris Doughty, had a closer race with Diehl winning by 11 percentage points.
Vanessa Snow, director of policy and organizing at MassVOTE, said turnout rates could have been higher if the weather and the Labor Day weekend weren’t factors.
“People might be away that weekend, they haven’t followed the news that closely and maybe aren’t prepared to vote,” Snow said. “I think one other factor is that most incumbents didn’t face challengers, and so I think that also provides less motivation for people to participate in a primary.”
Healey, the current attorney general of Massachusetts, held a post-primary party on Tuesday night. If elected, Healey would be the first woman elected governor and openly-gay governor of Massachusetts.
“I promise you I will be a governor who sees everyone, listens to everyone and hears everyone,” she said, “and I will be a governor as tough as the state she serves.”
Diehl, a former Massachusetts state house representative, won roughly 55.7% of the Republican vote, according to AP estimates. He was the only Republican gubernatorial candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
“Today begins a new chapter of formally introducing our campaign to voters beyond the Republican Party,” Diehl wrote in a letter posted on his campaign’s Twitter page. “We wish those voters to know that ours is a campaign focused on the people of Massachusetts.”
Other notable nominations included Andrea Campbell, who won the Democratic nomination for attorney general, and incumbent Secretary of State William Galvin, who will be seeking re-election for a seventh term.
Declan Donahue, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and president of the Boston University College Republicans, said one reason he voted for Diehl was because of his firm pro-life stance.
“Doughty has made his stance very clear that he would not make any pushes on that front… so he’s here to maintain the status quo,” he said.
Donahue added without an “heir apparent” to current Gov. Charlie Baker — a Republican who chose not to seek a third term of governorship — a new Republican candidate was going to face an “uphill battle.”
Going into the general election, Diehl will be up against Healey in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly three to one, according to a state election office report. According to a July 2022 Suffolk University poll, Healey is favored to win 54% of the vote to 23% against Diehl.
“Because the state does lean Democratic, whichever candidate wins the Democratic [primary] election for most races will likely win the general,” Snow said.
Donahue said he doesn’t think either Republican candidate would win against Healey without “bottom of the barrel turnout” from Democrat voters in the general election.
The general election will take place on Nov. 8.