Healey wins governors race, first female and lesbian elected

By Hannah Nguyen, Deputy Express News Editor

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey scored a historic win Tuesday night after becoming the first elected female governor in Massachusetts and the first openly lesbian governor in the nation.

The Associated Press called the race for Healey and Kim Driscoll shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. 

“To those who voted for me and to those who didn’t, I want you to know that I’ll be a governor for everyone and I’ll work with anyone who’s up for making a difference in this state,” Healey said to the crowd at Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.

Healey defeated Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. She is the second Democrat to win the governor’s office in 30 years, replacing Republican Charlie Baker, who held the governorship for eight years prior to declining to run for a third term.

Diehl conceded the race three hours after the AP called the race for Healey.

“The people of the Commonwealth have spoken,” he said to his supporters at Boston Harbor Hotel. “I respect their choice, and I ask everyone who supported me and Leah to give her the same opportunity for success that I would have asked if the shoe had been on the other foot.”

As of Wednesday at 9:04 p.m with 95% of votes counted, Healey garnered 1,504,749 votes, about 63% of the total votes. 

“Tonight I want to say something to every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there. I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be and nothing and no one can ever get in your way except your own imagination and that’s not going to happen.” Healey said.

Driscoll, who became Lieutenant Governor with Tuesday’s win, reflected on her initial run for mayor of Salem, MA; she was told the city wasn’t ready for a female mayor. 

“As you can see I didn’t wait my turn,” Driscoll said. “In fact, I was elected as the first woman to lead Salem in its 400-year history.”

Healey and Driscoll were among three all-female governor-lieutenant governor tickets in the U.S.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu thanked attendees for their support and for electing Democratic women in office. She admitted feeling worried about the election results in other states, including Arizona, Georgia, and New Hampshire, but said Massachusetts “shattered the highest glass ceiling.”

“When states across the country are fighting to hold on to reproductive rights, free and fair elections, basic civil rights, Massachusetts has a special responsibility to lead,” Wu said to the crowd. “Tonight, we have made our values clear. Here in Massachusetts, we have flipped the governor’s seat from red to blue.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who won reelection in Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District, said Tuesday’s victories will not go unnoticed. 

“Tonight, there will be no hidden figures. Tonight, there will be no erasures,” Pressley said. “History is going to get it right.”

The progress in the state comes from work by women throughout generations, she added.

“Movements do not materialize from thin air,” Pressley said. “Women who are Black, brown, indigenous, AAPI, disabled, and queer do not rise to the highest office out of manifest destiny … They are the results of good, old-fashioned hard work.”

Former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell was also elected as the state’s first Black woman attorney general. 

“For those who have felt unseen, this victory is for you. For those who have felt marginalized, this victory is for you. For those who have felt left out, left behind, this victory is for you,” Campbell said.

Hopkinton, MA resident Kerri Connors is a volunteer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization founded by Shannon Watts with a mission to “[fight] for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.” It is a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly 10 million supporters. 

She voiced her support for Healey and said her campaign aligned with the organization’s goals to end gun violence.

“We’re really lucky in Massachusetts to have the strength of the gun laws that we have, but there’s always more that we can do,” Connors said. “I’m hoping she can keep that at the top of the agenda moving forward and [strengthen] our gun laws in terms of ghost guns, analyzing gun violence data, and creating sensitive places where guns aren’t allowed like schools and polling places.”

Although her main priority is gun violence prevention, Connors is hopeful of the progress Massachusetts is making in electing women in higher positions in office. However, she hopes one day, having women run for office will be the new norm.  

“Hopefully, we will get to a point where it’s not a big deal that someone is out as governor or that someone is a female and we have an all female ticket—that’s not what we’re discussing. But that’s where we are right now, and I think it’s amazing,” Connors said. 

Swampscott, MA resident Evelyn Oquendo Swampscott has supported Driscoll since her early days in college. Originally from Salem, MA, Oquendo attended Salem State College and was roommates with Driscoll. They’ve been friends since and Driscoll officiated Oquendo’s marriage with her partner five years ago.

When Driscoll decided to run for lieutenant governor, it made Oquendo reflect on the time in college when she told Driscoll she may one day become the president of the United States. 

“Her work [ethic], drive, and wanting to make a difference in communities in the towns and government just inspired me,” Oquendo said. “I just looked up to her and now it’s coming full circle that she could be the next lieutenant governor. I just want her to know I’m proud of her as a friend and as a constituent.”

Lawrence and Annemarie Kubera, a married couple from Longmeadow, have supported Healey since they met her at an event when she ran for attorney general in 2014. 

“She’s a very intelligent human being,” Lawrence said. “She understands the law and how the laws can change for the better.”

Healey was among two openly lesbian candidates who ran to be governor in the U.S. Democrat Tina Kotek also ran for the governor’s office in Oregon and is in the lead with 46.7% of the total votes as of Wednesday at 9:20 p.m.

“I stand before you tonight proud to be the first woman and the first gay person ever elected governor of Massachusetts,” Healey said.

In addition to the governor’s and attorney general’s race, Sen. Diana DiZoglio won the race for auditor over Republican Anthony Amore. Incumbent Democratic state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has been elected to another four-year term. In the race for secretary of the commonwealth, incumbent Democrat William Galvin defeated Republican Rayla Campbell.