Jun 24, 2022 - Politics

AG Healey on track to be Massachusetts' first elected female governor

A closeup photo of Attorney General Maura Healey
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Attorney General Maura Healey will be the Democratic nominee for governor this year, after her primary opponent dropped out of the race Thursday.

Why it matters: This sets Healey on a clear path to victory in November to become the state's first openly gay and first elected female chief executive.

  • Lt. Gov. Jane Swift rose to the governorship in the early 2000s when Gov. Paul Cellucci resigned to serve as ambassador to Canada.

Driving the news: Healey's challenger, Jamaica Plain Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, bowed out of the race Thursday morning, admitting there was no way to beat the popular Healey at the polls.

  • Chang-Diaz said at a press conference that she would dedicate what's left of her campaign to building a "movement" to elect a slate of five progressives in down-ballot races.
  • Healey said in a statement that she's grateful for what Chang-Diaz brought to the race.

State of play: Barring an unlikely upset in the GOP primary that would pit a more moderate candidate against Healey, or an unprecedented swing of November voters to Republican frontrunner Geoff Diehl, a Democratic Healey administration will begin in January.

  • Democrats will have control of the executive branch and vast majorities in both the House and Senate.
  • Progressives will push Healey for policies to the left of what Republican incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker has offered the last eight years.

The other side: Diehl, a former state representative from Whitman and supporter of former President Donald Trump, has a clear lead in the Republican primary against more moderate opponent Chris Doughty.

  • Polls show Healey with a nearly 30-point advantage over Diehl in a head-to-head.

The bottom line: Even in what is expected to be a disappointing election cycle for Democrats nationally, Massachusetts' track record of supporting Democrats may make the race a cinch for Healey.

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