Diehl concedes to Healey; his supporters don’t

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Photo: Maddie Barron

Geoff Diehl gives his concession speech alongside running-mate Leah Allen.

By Maddie Barron, Staff Writer

At the Boston Harbor Hotel, voters for former Massachusetts State Representative Geoff Diehl gathered to await what they hoped to be the election of another Republican governor for Massachusetts. Supporters of Trump-endorsed Diehl tearfully watched as he conceded to Democratic opponent Maura Healey late Tuesday night.  

The Associated Press projected Healey’s win at 8:02 p.m., two minutes after polls closed in Massachusetts. Diehl’s Campaign Manager Amanda Orlando announced on stage the Associated Press’s projection of Healey’s win was premature, and requested that supporters stay patient. 

“[The projection] is irresponsible,” Orlando said. “We’re going to wait until those vote results come in.” 

Rick Green, the 2018 Republican congressional candidate and chief executive of 1A Auto Parts, commented on behalf of the Diehl campaign throughout the night. In 2021, Green hired Diehl as director of business development for 1A Auto Parts and has since financially supported his campaign, according to an interview with WBUR. 

“What you see on your TVs is not the voters, it is the projection of the mainstream media … I want you to hang on,” Green said. “A red tsunami is brewing.”

Supporters remained optimistic that the “red wave” political experts were anticipating would head for the blue state. John Hajhar, a Diehl supporter at the event, expected the policies of Diehl and other GOP candidates to appeal to voters in Massachusetts. 

“I think [Republican candidates] offer a great vision of a very bright future … and I hope we embrace that,” Hajhar said. 

Denise Tourres, who alleged she attended the events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, hoped Americans would recognize what was at stake in this election: “Freedom. Freedom for all of us and especially the future of our children,” she said. 

Tourres does not want the U.S. to descend into a “future of tyranny” under a democratic congressional majority. 

Many Diehl supporters were fond of his policies regarding limited government interference on topics like the COVID-19 vaccine, taxes, and schools. They hoped these hot-button issues would attract independents, who were predicted to lean Republican in the midterms. 

“Republicans have strong support among independents who break toward the GOP by seven points, and only one in 10 say they’re still undecided on which party to support,” according to a PBS article from April 2022.  

Supporters relied on these predictions to secure Diehl’s win. Shana Cottone, a law enforcement worker, anticipated middle-class workers to vote in favor of Diehl. 

“I’m excited,” she said. “I really hope the independents come out for him.” 

Others expected President Biden’s 39% approval rate to sway moderate Democrats who wanted to address inflation and crime.  

“As you see more failure from the policies implemented by the left,” Hajhar said, “you’re going to see more and more people come to the Republican side.” 

Nationally, trends show over one million registered Democrat voters registering Republican. However, in Massachusetts, more people are registering as independents—labeled unenrolled in Massachusetts—with a nearly 200,000 person increase since October 2020. 

Candidates and political figures at the event offered a beacon of hope to disheartened voters. Republican Attorney General candidate James McMahon remained fervently confident. 

“We’re going to see a historic moment tonight,” McMahon said in an interview with The Beacon. “We’re going to see all those [candidates] get elected. It’s going to take a little time … I believe I’m going to win tonight.” 

The New York Times reports McMahon lost by 24.2 percent to former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell. 

John MacDonald, former Massachusetts state senate candidate, addressed Healey’s early projected victory before introducing McMahon to the stage. 

“By no stretch of the imagination is this over tonight,” MacDonald said. 

He encouraged the crowd to keep the news on as they prepare for a long night ahead and “predict that [Diehl] will be victorious.”

“Do not believe [the results] until 100 percent of the vote is in,” MacDonald said at the end of his speech. 

Forty minutes later, at 10:53 p.m., with just under 20 percent of the votes counted, Diehl conceded.

The “red wave” anticipated to hit Massachusetts looked to be the steady supply of red wine amongst devastated Diehl voters. As the night progressed and loss was impending, visits to the bar from both supporters and candidates were frequent. The crowd shouted “Fake news!” and booed at any mention of Healey or the press in both MacDonald and McMahon’s speeches. One woman in a Diehl hat antagonized the press, who were scattered throughout the space, yelling: “Fake news media!”

Voices from the crowd continuously interrupted Diehl’s speech, begging him not to concede, to which Diehl thanked his audience for the support, but asked they let him get through the speech. 

“The people of the Commonwealth have spoken and I respect their choice,” Diehl said. “Though our campaign ends today, the work to create a better Massachusetts doesn’t end.”

Diehl wished the best to Governor-elect Healey.

Voters felt stuck in place after the party ended, shocked that Diehl conceded. 

“I am feeling betrayed,” a passerby remarked. “I’m so sick about it.”

From the group heading toward the exit, a woman declared: “I’m moving! Florida, here I come.”

A once-passionate Diehl voter turned on the candidate quickly. 

“How can he concede to that? Look at Trump … he never conceded to anything,” he said. “Conceding only matters when you actually lose. I don’t believe he lost.”

Rejection of Diehl’s concession does not come as a surprise from his voters. Diehl said the 2020 election was rigged in an interview with The Boston Globe—a statement that has been proven false. Diehl’s supporters, however, still remain confident that the 2020 election was stolen against incumbent President Trump. 

Despite the booing from supporters who rejected Diehl’s confirmation of Healey as Massachusetts’ next governor, the governor-elect said in her winning speech she will proudly represent all Bay Staters. 

“To those who voted for me and to those who didn’t, I want you to know I’ll be a governor for everyone,” Healey said.