Decision 2022

Historic Night: Healey Elected Mass. Governor, NH Sticks With Incumbents

Maura Healey has made history as the first woman elected governor in Massachusetts, while several closely watched New Hampshire races ended in the favor of incumbents

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Now that the dust is settling after the midterm elections, New Englanders are getting a clearer picture of the people who will be leading and representing the region in the coming years.

Massachusetts has elected a new governor in a historic moment, and New Hampshire is sticking with the same after several hotly contested statewide races — with Sen. Maggie Hassan chalking it up to the state's "wicked independent" voters.

Election Results 2022

Source: Associated Press. (Note: This data may be slightly different than results from NBC News' Decision Desk used elsewhere on this site)
Amy O'Kruk/NBC

Maura Healey Elected Massachusetts Governor

In a momentous election, Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll are set to become one of the first all-female tickets in the country chosen to lead a state.

On top of that, Healey is now set to become the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts and the first lesbian elected governor in the country.

She highlighted these achievements during her victory speech Tuesday night.

Governor-Elect Maura Healey addressed her supporters Tuesday after her victory over Geoff Diehl.

"I want to say something to every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there," Healey said. "I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be."

Healey told a crowd of supporters she will be everyone's governor, not just to those who voted for her.

She ran on the message that she would help create opportunity and make Massachusetts a more attractive state to invest in, while also helping improve education, transportation, infrastructure and address the climate crisis.

From the first out lesbian governor to the first female governor of Arkansas, women claimed historic firsts in elections across the country. But they weren’t the only ones.

Her opponent, Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who was backed by former President Donald Trump, conceded after the initial results came in.

He called on Healey and Driscoll to address high energy costs, give parents a stronger voice in children's education, lower taxes and help businesses.

"The people of the Commonwealth have spoken," Diehl said. "I respect their choice and I ask everyone who supported me and Leah, give her the same opportunity for success that I would've asked had the shoe been on the other foot."

Republican Geoff Diehl thanked the supporters of his gubernatorial campaign Tuesday night.

The Healey campaign announced Wednesday morning that Healey and Driscoll will be meeting with Baker and Polito in the afternoon to discuss the transition process.

Democrats are taking back the Massachusetts governorship after eight years under Republican Charlie Baker, who decided not to run for reelection.

Democratic Incumbents See Victory in New Hampshire

The Granite State had two races that gained national attention for their potential to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, but in the end, both Democratic incumbents prevailed.

Senator Maggie Hassan and Congressman Chris Pappas faced tough reelection campaigns from relatively unknown Republican challengers.

In polling for the race for U.S. Senate, Hassan was statistically tied going into Election Day with a conservative candidate known for denying the results of the 2020 election, General Don Bolduc.

Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire thanked those that supported her in her reelection campaign.

But Bolduc conceded to Hassan Tuesday night.

"We're just wicked independent, and it really reflects that," Hassan said Wednesday morning, after greeting people at a diner in Manchester. "I never take any vote for granted."

She said she'd had a congratulatory call from President Joe Biden, in which she reiterated her goal of "just wanting to continue to do the work that will make a difference in people's lives," things like combating the rising cost of living that people are dealing with in New Hampshire and nationwide.

As he conceded, Bolduc said he hoped his candidacy put Hassan on notice: "This is not a loss, we woke a lot of people up."

In New Hampshire’s first congressional district, Congressman Chris Pappas was neck and neck with 25-year-old political newcomer and stanch Trump supporter Karoline Leavitt – who would have been the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she had won.

Pappas, though, succeeded in earning his third term from voters.

"We know this campaign was a tough fight, but it was always about the people of New Hampshire and putting them first," Pappas said.

Rep. Chris Pappas, D-New Hampshire, defeated Republican Karoline Leavitt to retain his House seat.

Both Leavitt and Bolduc promised their supporters that these losses would note end their political involvement in the Granite State.

But Republican Gov. Chris Sununu was elected to a fourth term, soundly defeating his Democratic challenger, Dr. Tom Sherman.

Voters we spoke with said that, especially in New Hampshire, they don’t want to be pigeon-holed by a poll or a political party.

"We really are picking the candidate for what they’re standing for, instead of really like if they’re a Democrat or a Republican," voter Cindy Sargent said.

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