Maura Healey won in Massachusetts and will be the first openly lesbian governor in the United States

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The 51-year-old former State Attorney General is a staunch supporter of abortion rights

Maura Healey won Massachusetts and will be the first openly lesbian female governor in the United States

Maura Healey broke the curse of Massachusetts attorneys general who always lost elections to Governor REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey was elected Governor of Massachusetts, making history as the first woman to govern that state and the first openly gay female candidate elected to that office in the United States.

Healey defeated Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who had the backing of former President Donald Trump. Their election of him returns the governorship to the Democrats after eight years of Republican leadership under the popular governor Charlie Baker , who chose not to seek re-election.

< p class = "paragraph">Healey and her running mate, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, were one of three female candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in the United States that entered Election Day with a chance to become the first such couple chosen to lead a state.

The Republican bid of Sarah Huckabee Sanders for governor and Leslie Rutledge for lieutenant governor won in Arkansas. And in Ohio, Democrat Nan Whaley is running for governor with Cheryl Stephens as her running mate.

Healey was also one of two openly lesbian candidates running for governor in the country. Healey and Democrat Tina Kotek, a candidate for governor in Oregon, began the day with the possibility of becoming the first openly lesbian person elected governor of a state.

Healey – elected eight years ago years as the nation's first openly gay attorney general – broke what is known in Massachusetts as the “attorney general curse”. Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys general have run for governor. They all failed.

During the campaign, Healey promised to expand job training programs, make childcare more affordable and modernize schools. Healey has also said that he will protect “access to safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts” following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The 51-year-old has also marked what she sees as a number of accomplishments during her time as the state's top law enforcement official, including protecting students and homeowners from predatory lenders and lawsuit against Exxon Mobil to determine if the oil giant misled investors and the public about its knowledge of climate change.

Healey also targeted OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family over allegations that they misled patients and doctors about the risks of opioids.

During the campaign , the Democrat warned that Diehl would “bring Trumpism to Massachusetts.” Diehl co-chaired former President Donald Trump's first presidential campaign in Massachusetts and earned his endorsement for governor in a state that outright rejected Trump in 2016 and 2020.

Although Healey is the first Massachusetts woman elected governor, she is not the first to hold the office. Republican Jane Swift, then the lieutenant governor, became acting governor in 2001 when Governor Paul Cellucci resigned to become ambassador to Canada. Swift was never elected governor.

Since 1991, Republicans have held the corner office in the Statehouse for every year but eight, when Democrat Deval Patrick was governor.

With AP information