GEOFF DIEHL cruised to an easy victory over Chris Doughty in the Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, setting the stage for a final election battle with the Democratic nominee, Maura Healey.
Former president Donald Trump is likely to become a topic of much discussion in the final. Trump endorsed Diehl early on in the race and in a telephone call to Diehl supporters on Monday night praised him as “the only conservative running for Massachusetts governor” and said “he’ll rule your state with an iron fist.”
Healey, as the attorney general in Massachusetts, sued the Trump administration close to 100 times, often as part of a coalition with other states. Trump refers to Healey and Democrats like her as “left-wing extremists.”
Doughty, a businessman and first-time candidate, warned repeatedly that Diehl is not electable in Massachusetts, a state where Trump has never been popular. Doughty self-financed much of his campaign and, after a slow start, seemed to pick up some momentum. He appeared to win his lone debate with Diehl on the radio show of Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr. And Carr, a big Trump supporter, later came out in support of Doughty.
But Diehl prevailed, defeating Doughty by a margin of 56-44 with nearly 77 percent of the votes counted.
Diehl ended August with $16,696 in his campaign account. Healey, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, ended August with $4.7 million in her campaign account.
The one area of suspense on the GOP ticket was who would be Diehl’s lieutenant governor running mate. He ran with Leah Allen, but lieutenant governor candidates must win their own primary elections. With 73 percent of the votes counted, Allen was leading Kate Campanale, who campaigned with Doughty, by a margin of 52-48.