Maura Healey claimed victory on Nov. 8 election night in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, defeating Republican candidate Geoff Diehl.
Healey, a Democrat, is the first woman and openly lesbian person to be elected governor in Massachusetts and will succeed Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.
“The people of Massachusetts tonight have given us a historic opportunity and a mandate to act. So we’re going to ignore the noise. We’re going to focus every day on making a positive difference in people’s lives,” Healey said at her election night party at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.
Healey was joined by several other Democratic candidates at her election night party, including her running mate Lieutenant Governor-elect Kim Driscoll, Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell, State Auditor-elect Diana DiZoglio and Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Katherine Clark.
“Tonight’s victories are not the result of blue waves or magic. They are the result of good, old fashioned hard work. The work that women have been doing for generations,” Pressley said in her speech at the Democratic watch party.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren made an appearance to congratulate Healey and the Democratic candidates on their victories.
“When we persist together, we win together,” she said.
Immediately after the AP projected Healey the winner of the race, skepticism began to circle around the Diehl party.
Hours went by with Diehl campaign officials repeatedly saying they would not concede until every vote was counted. Diehl’s campaign manager, Amanda Orlando, took the stage around 9 p.m. to address the crowd, calling the AP’s projection “irresponsible” and “extremely premature.”
Rick Green, a spokesperson for the Diehl campaign, called the projection “faulty information,” saying, “what you see on your TVs is nothing more than the projection of the mainstream media and what they believe will happen.”
Diehl, a former Massachusetts state representative, and his running mate, Leah Cole Allen, conceded the race at his election night party at the Boston Harbor Hotel just before 11 p.m.
“I understand every vote counts, and it will be counted,” he said. “I know the state will count those votes, but right now with the gap that we have, it is impossible to close.”
Diehl thanked his supporters for continuing to stand with him. Some attendees did not acknowledge the early calling of the race.
“They called it for Maura Healey with 0% of the polls being tallied. That right there is a sign enough that you need to not believe what’s going on,” said Charlie Cook, a teacher and firearm instructor who was “completely disappointed” with Diehl’s loss.
In the race for Massachusetts attorney general, Campbell beat out Republican Jay McMahon, according to the AP, making her the first Black attorney general in the history of Massachusetts.
“Our campaign was led by the people, for the people, to ensure the Attorney General of Massachusetts remains committed to being for the people and representing the people,” Campbell said.
Although the AP declared Campbell the winner early in the night, McMahon was determined to wait for more results.
“I want them to be particular and meticulous,” McMahon said after speaking on stage. “I want every vote to be counted. I don’t mind waiting. I would rather wait and have them get it right, than to just jump ahead and do what the AP did seven minutes after the polls closed.”
Kerri Connors, a volunteer for Moms Demand Action, said it is “amazing” to see a female governor and lieutenant governor duo.
“I think that (Healey) is tough, but empathetic,” she said. “I think she’s not afraid to get to know the different parts of the state, all the different people, and all the different socio-economic status.”
Ashawn Dabney-Small, a Boston native and paraprofessional, said the elects represent a major change for the Commonwealth.
“There’s going to be one woman who’s gay and another one who’s of color,” Dabney-Small said. “If you were asking me these questions 40 or 50 years ago, I’d probably tell you this is a losing battle.”
Fidel Ramos, a business owner at the Diehl event, said he was disappointed in Diehl’s early concession.
“He should’ve given his supporters who voted for him across the state a chance for their votes to be counted,” he said.
Some Republicans also indicated that they would support an even further right-leaning candidate in the future.
“None of us in this room would want a more moderate candidate,” Kebbi Nowland, an Amesbury resident, said at the Diehl event.
Sterling Edgar, legislative aide for the state Senate, said he was “very excited to see a Democratic landslide” since Massachusetts has not always been completely blue.
Jeff Wulfson, former deputy commissioner of education, attended the MassDems Watch Party.
“Massachusetts prides itself in leading the nation in civil liberties and caring for its citizens and Maura Healey is a great exemplar of that, regardless of what’s going on in the rest of the country tonight, I think we’re still in good shape here in the Commonwealth,” Wulfson said.
Heather Logrippo, who was at Geoff Diehl’s election night party, said she held a fundraiser for Diehl during his race against Warren for the United States Senate.
“He’s a winner,” she said. “He’s a doll of a person. He really just does what he says. He’s honest, there’s no spin. What you see is what you get.”
Healey, after thanking her supporters and campaign for their help, said she would stand as a governor for everyone in the state.
“In Massachusetts, we lift people up, we come together, and we lead. That’s who we are.” Healey said. “Together we’ll build a stronger Massachusetts for everyone.”
Xiaoya Shao contributed to the reporting on this story.