Whitman’s Geoff Diehl, a former state representative endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has won the Republican nomination for Massachusetts governor over businessman Chris Doughty, who was considered the more moderate candidate in the race.
The victory for Diehl sets up a general election contest 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, decided against seeking a third term.
Republican voters made Massachusetts the latest blue state this midterm season to nominate a Trump loyalist in a high-profile race, potentially doming the party’s chances of winning in November. Voters in Connecticut and Maryland, liberal states where centrist Republicans have found some success in previous elections, also selected far-right candidates to go up against a Democrat in the general election.
Healey, whose only rival for the nomination dropped out of the race but remains on the ballot, will be the heavy favorite in November against Diehl in one of the most liberal states in the nation.
At her victory party Tuesday night before the GOP race was called for Diehl, Healey told cheering supporters that regardless of which candidate emerged as her opponent, “We know he’ll be out of touch with the values we stand for.” Speaking of both candidates, she added, “They’ll bring Trumpism to Massachusetts.”
Diehl, the favorite among state Republican Party delegates, has ties to Trump stretching to 2016, when he was co-chair for Trump’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts.