Two candidates who came out on top in the primary season in two gubernatorial elections — Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Tina Kotek in Oregon — could be on track to make history and become the first openly lesbian women elected as governor in the United States.
Healey, currently the Massachusetts attorney general, joined Kotek as a fellow Democratic gubernatorial nominee after winning in the primary Tuesday night in Massachusetts, becoming the overwhelming victor by securing 85.5 percent of the vote against State Sen. Sonia Rosa Chang-Díaz.
Following her primary victory, Healey issued a statement seeking to capitalize on the win and envisioned the way forward into the general election in November, pledging to “run a campaign for everyone.”
“I got into this race because I believe in Massachusetts,” Healey said. “We have the best people, innovation and know-how in the world. As governor, I want to harness that potential, bring people together and build a state where every person and every business can thrive.”
Whether or not both Healey and Kotek win in November remains to be seen. Healey, who’s running against Geoff Diehl, a former state lawmaker endorsed by former President Trump, is heavily favored to win in November.
Kotek, on the other hand, faces a more difficult path and is running in a state where outgoing Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is deeply unpopular. Kotek faces a potential three-way race between unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson and Republican Christine Drazan, who has recently obtained support from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Although Healey and Kotek could achieve firsts as out lesbian candidates, other members of LGBTQ community have significant broken barriers in gubernatorial. For example, Brown became the first openly LGBTQ person elected governor in the United States Oregon upon winning election in 2016 as as an openly bisexual candidate.
Other firsts include Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who’s the first openly gay men to win election as governor. The distinction of the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as governor belongs to former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy, who came out as gay amid scandal before he resigned. In 2018, Christine Hallquist of Vermont became the openly transgender to obtain a major party nomination to run for governor, although she came up short in the general election.